Alexandre Gallery will present an exhibition of paintings and works on paper spanning Neil Welliver’s (American, 1929-2005) career from the late 1960s—2000. Included will be examples of Welliver’s early figurative paintings, classic large sized landscapes, plein air oil studies, and works on paper including his last woodcut print: Stump.
Welliver’s work is included in museum collections including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, which was the first major American museum to purchase his work.
In his 2005 New York Times obituary, Ken Johnson wrote:
Mr. Welliver came of age as an artist in the late 1950’s and 60’s, at a time when nonrepresentational styles of painting like Abstract Expressionism and, later, Color Field and Minimalism were accorded the highest critical prestige. Along with artists like Larry Rivers, Alex Katz and Philip Pearlstein, Mr. Welliver strove to paint representational images without sacrificing the formal innovations that the Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning had introduced to modern painting.
Welliver’s lifelong friend, the American poet Mark Strand, wrote of his process in 2001:
What sets Welliver’s woods apart from the woods of others is that they are, of course, his. We see them and know instantly who painted them. That stream plunging and swirling around those gray rocks is familiar, so are those clouds parading in ragged order across that sky spreading a midday blue over those hills. They are all part of Welliver’s woods. The unaffectedness, the ease with which they are simply there, without a hint of what went into their making, without an indication anywhere of the turmoil that prompted them, is what sets them apart. Of course, we can see the many brush strokes in a large Welliver and believe that they—in their tireless application—tell us what goes into a Welliver, but we would be wrong, for there is much in a Welliver that we cannot see. In the past of each one are the long hikes into the woods, which Welliver takes, loaded down with easel, canvas, brushes, oil, thinner, and tubes of color, to the spot where he will paint; then there are the hours he stands, in all kinds of weather, and paints what will be the small preparatory paintings on which he bases the large drawings that lead finally to the large paintings.