Sunday, October 25, 2015

Archibald Motley at the Whitney

John and I were introduced to the 1920's painter, Archibald Motley, when we visited the new Whitney Museum for the first time last week.
 Motley's work is primarily expressionistic, but his lovely portraits, like this Nude (Portrait of My Wife), 1930, are realistic.
 Blues, 1929, painted while he was in Paris in the 20s on a Guggenheim grant is more typical of his style.
 Most of the pieces recorded the Black experience in his hometown of Chicago. The easy integration of races in the school yard in Playground (Recess), c.1940, was probably wishful thinking about American society at the time.
 Tongues (Holy Rollers), 1929, and Barbecue, 1931, are more likely to represent the real experience of the Chicago population of the early 20th century. It was fun to witness this revival of Motley's career.

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