top of page
  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Mary Abbott, past away at age of 98, major member of American Expressionism.

Mary Abbott, who used a colorful palette and broad strokes to "capture the imagination," died on August 23 at the age of 98. According to the Chicago McCormick Gallery , which has been representing the American painter for almost 20 years, she has succumbed to cardiac arrest.

Mary Abbott was a for a long time an unknown figure of abstract expressionism.

Born in New York in 1921 and descended from American President John Adams (1735-1826), Mary Abbott joined the Art Student League of the city at the age of 17. She attended the classes of German painter George Grosz (1893-1959). She then moved to Washington DC to join the educational program of the Corcoran Museum School. In parallel to her studies, she was a model, and made the cover of several fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

In 1946, Mary Abbott returned to her hometown, entered avant-garde circles and met with great names of Abstract Expressionism including Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.

In the 1950s, she exhibited her paintings inspired by her travels and nature, in several galleries in New York and at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1970, Mary Abbott turned to teaching and worked for 10 years as a professor at the University of Minneapolis. She spent the last years of her life in Southampton, New York.

Mary Abbott's work was featured in the exhibition " Women of Abstract Expressionism ", organized by the Denver Art Museum in 2016, where her work featured alongside more renowned female signatures: Lee Krasner, Elaine of Kooning (Willem's wife), Joan Mitchell.

Asked by the museum about her practice, Mary Abbott said, "It just strikes me. Trying to faithfully represent the world did not work for me. Thanks to abstraction, I was able to express myself in another way " .

bottom of page