SOUTHWEST ABSTRACTIONS of Emil Bisttram
Sept 21,2021-March 2022
Harrington Changing Gallery
Bisttram (1895-1976) was one of the leading painters in the Southwest during
the twentieth century. Bisttram’s artistic talents were evident at an early age
and he studied at the National Academy of Art and Design, Cooper Union,
Parson’s, and the Art Student’s League during the period when New York was
emerging as the center of the art world and modernism was reaching its
ascendency. In Raymond Jonson, an abstract painter living and working in
Albuquerque, Bistrram found a cohort and in 1938 they founded the
Transcendental Painting Group. Bisttram, Jonson, Agnes
Pelton and fellow members believed that color and abstract forms had a
universal essence which they explored in their work.
periodically continued to produce public murals and some figurative paintings
until his death in 1975, the vast majority of
his work after World War II was non-objective abstraction
that was inspired by his spiritual practices of
meditation, theosophy, and the hope of reaching higher planes of existence.
Bisttram was so respected for his lifetime of work that his birthday in 1975
was declared a state holiday in New Mexico.
This exhibition will be drawn
exclusively from an extensive collection of approximately 65 Bisttram paintings
from Tom Ladd and his family, including his brother
Richard Ladd and his sister, Susan Ladd Willis of Amarillo.