Edelman Arts is pleased to announce Fritz Bultman: Cutouts, an exhibition of collages by American abstract expressionist Fritz Bultman (1919-1985). The exhibition is on view at our salon space at 135 East 15th Street, New York from November 9th to December 4th, 2015.
As a member of the Irascibles, Fritz Bultman is well known for his paintings. Few know that his work in cutouts was integral to the development of his painterly aesthetic. These collage-like works reveal the impromptu layering of color and form that is prevalent throughout his oeuvre.
Bultman first experimented with cutouts in the late 1930s. It was not until the 1960s that he seriously returned to the medium and became a major practitioner. Reminiscent of Matisse’s ‘cut-outs,’ Bultman’s works are saturated with color. They play with arabesque forms and repeat patterns, often on a very large scale. Yet while Matisse thought of papier collé as “drawing with scissors,” Bultman approached cutouts as sculpture, layering paper until his works became thick with texture.
Bultman began his collages by painting entire pads of drawing paper with his favored gouache colors: reds, ochre, and sienna. He cut and tore the paper into pieces and then applied the ripped shapes with push-pins to his studio wall. When he was satisfied, he secured them with Elmer’s Glue. His finished work was not restrained by any rectilinear edges of the support. It was free to assume any shape dictated by the internal development of the composition. As Bultman wrote in his diary:
“I took the painting of papers with gouache from Matisse’s cut-outs, but I began to work anew in collage from a center outward, rather than working on the confines of a sheet of paper. By adding piece to piece I find a means to give me a collage of random shape through random growth.”
In this sense, Salute to Sky, featured in the exhibition, conjures late Matisse, with its exuberant color, monumental size, and gestural and energetic impact.
Fritz Bultman’s work has been exhibited widely, including in solo retrospectives at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, and Hunter College in New York. His work is included in the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (Provincetown, MA) and the New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA). Edelman Arts has exhibited work by Bultman in the past, in Abstraction: What Is Real (March 2012). A mural-size three panel canvas by Fritz Bultman was featured in AB-EX RE-CON, an exhibition at the Nassau County Museum (Roslyn, New York). Most recently, two of his three panel paintings Blue Triptych: Intrusion into the Blue and Gravity of Nightfall were installed in the lobby of One World Trade Center.