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Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered reintroduces a singular self-taught artist to contemporary audiences. A Jewish immigrant, tailor, and slipper manufacturer in Brooklyn who took up painting at the age of 65, Morris Hirshfield (1872–1946) attracted a great degree of attention during his brief career as an artist.
His wildly stylized pictures of animals, landscapes, and often nude female figures were embraced by the international avant garde, including Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian, collected by Peggy Guggenheim, and featured in a highly-publicized solo show at The Museum of Modern Art in 1943. Yet, the artist was dismissed in the press as an unschooled amateur and mocked as the “Master of the Two Left Feet” for his tendency to display the female body in an unorthodox fashion. This exhibition will showcase Hirshfield’s imaginative, vibrantly patterned paintings. As New Yorker writer Andrea K. Scott described them: “His subjects are ornamental, so highly stylized—static, hypnotic—that paint on canvas performs as beads, trim, and pompoms once did on his patented slippers, a delightful selection of which have been re-created for the exhibition.” The exhibition at the Cantor will feature Surrealist artists that Hirshfield was exhibited alongside in New York, such as Yves Tanguy, Kay Sage, and Leonora Carrington, and a section devoted to self-taught artists such as John Kane, Hector Hippolyte, and Grandma Moses.
The exhibition, described by the New York Times as “extravagantly orchestrated” and “one of the season’s best” is curated by Richard Meyer, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University and is organized by the American Folk Art Museum. The exhibition’s accompanying monograph by Richard Meyer, Master of the Two Left Feet: Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered (winner of the 2023 Dedalus Foundation Exhibition Catalogue Award) will be available to purchase at the Museum and the Stanford University Bookstore.
Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered is organized by the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), New York, and curated by Richard Meyer, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor of Art History at Stanford University. Major support to date provided by Pamela and David Hornik and the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.
IMAGE: Morris Hirshfield, Girl with Pigeons, 1942. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection, 1969, 610.1967. © 2023 Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, 1944. Oil on canvas. Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Gift of Maria and Conrad Janis Estate. © 2023 Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photograph by Melissa Goodwin, courtesy Pace Gallery
Admission Info: Please click here to acquire a free, all-day ticket reservation to the museum. Cantor Arts Center: Open Wed-Sun, 11am - 5pm. CLOSED MON & TUES
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