Press Releases



Maurice Freedman:  "Provincetown Paintings"


In a compelling selection of vintage works, Julie Heller exhibits a selection of the Provincetown paintings of Maurice Freedman, in conjunction with the Midtown-Payson Galleries in New York.


Artists Reception 7pm Friday, August 6.

Exhibition continues through August 12.


The exhibition pays homage to this master American painter, who documented the dramatic energy of nature -- surging seascapes, panoramic landscapes, strong still life compositions -- all with the bold color and loaded brush, the expressive, forceful gesture characteristic of his style -- and to the town that nurtured and inspired him throughout his over fifty-year-long career.



Freedman, who died in 1985 at 81, was associated with a school of New England painters including John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, and Karl Knaths. He was born in Boston in 1904 and his desire to make art manifested itself in early childhood.  He studied art in school and attended the Massachusetts Normal School of Art, and later, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  A fellow student at the Museum School was John Whorf, another figure in Provincetown's historic association with artists.  When he got enough "samples" together to make the rounds of the advertising agencies, Freedman left Boston for New York City.  There he supported himself through commercial art.  It was there in the mid 20's that Freedman began seeing the work of contemporary European artists.  He felt the excitement of these avant-garde artists and was determined to go to Europe and discover firsthand what it was all about.  Freedman went to Paris to study and returned to America with a profound understanding of the roots of modern art in the form and composition and techniques of the Old Masters.  This early lesson was never lost on Freedman; rather, absorbed and constructed into an idiom of his own.  Throughout his career he responded to difficult questions of abstract composition, but never lost sight of the original subject. He was able to achieve a synthesis of modern European art and native American subject matter.


His greatest skill was his facility with color.  His palette shifted over his career as he experimented with color -- from the somber dark works of the thirties and forties, brightening with the bold hues of the fifties and sixties, and ending with the cool lavenders and blues which marked his late work.  His brushstrokes are direct: the final effect of his paintings is one of simplicity accompanied by liveliness. Art News said about him: "The freedom with which Freedman manipulated color and the poetic aura he was able to impart through it remain the most engaging aspects of his work."


Freedman was much influenced by the work of Max Beckmann, which he saw on a return trip to Europe in 1930.  Later he met the painter and their friendship further catalyzed Freedman's commitment to finding a balance between form and content, to isolating the essential formal structures in service to the expression of feeling.  When you feel, he said, "then you're on solid ground....This is such an important thing for people to realize throughout life.  This is a tremendous source of inspiration and pleasure because it happens to be the life force....then you have the world, really you have the world.


Freedman's subjects reflect the places he lived and traveled -- the extreme beauty and power of the New England sea coast, the traditional Provincetown imagery, the energetic pace of New York City, the romantic and cultured history of Europe and the more meditative, serene interiors and still lifes.  He returned to the same subjects and themes throughout his life.  He often reworked ideas until he felt he had captured the quintessential feeling that the subject evoked.  His works show a recurrent fascination with the changing, ephemeral effects of light, weather, and time upon his subjects. His awareness of the destructive force behind nature's beauty, the drama and action inherent in nature, it is that which is most effective in his seascapes and landscapes.

For many summers, Freedman painted in his studio in Truro and participated in the vital art life at the tip of the Cape.


John Russell, senior art critic for the New York Times observed of Freedman's work: "He had to draw with the loaded brush, how to handle rich and strong color without letting it get out of hand, and how to give individuality of the objects of everyday."  Critically hailed as a "painter's painter," Freedman's work remains freshly rewarding, weathering the test of time.  His works are collected in the premier museums across the country and internationally.




For further details and photographs, please call Julie Heller Gallery,









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