Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content


picture of a woman sitting

Van Doren Waxter represents the Estate of Zoe Longfield

Van Doren Waxter is delighted to announce exclusive representation of the Estate of Zoe Longfield. A daring and inventive first-generation Bay Area Abstract Expressionist—and one of the first women active in the movement—
Zoe Longfield (1924–2013) produced a radiant, lyrical body of abstraction characterized by experimentation and innovation. Critically appreciated in the late 1940s, this announcement coincides with a renewal of critical interest in the artist.

This fall, Van Doren Waxter will include a structured, rhythmic abstraction made by the artist with expressive brushstrokes in a sweeping historical installation of gestural work created in the year 1950 by Richard Diebenkorn, Jack Tworkov, Hedda Sterne, and James Brooks at Independent 20th Century in New York. The gallery will also include a suite of vibrant and colorful late 1940s paintings on paper in its stand at Frieze Masters in Regents Park, London. In 2024, the artist will receive a solo exhibition at Van Doren Waxter’s 1907 townhouse accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and new scholarship.

In a body of work lasting only a decade, Longfield’s indelible contributions to 20th century art range from her rich, thickly painted pictographic compositions with their totemic symbols and vigorous brushwork in the late 1940s that gave way to softer and luminous abstractions in thin washes of color by 1950.

“Independent,” asserted the late curator, art historian, and Bay Area Abstract Expressionism authority Susan Landauer in the landmark Women of Abstract Expressionism (Yale University Press, 2016), which includes a reproduction of a 1948 oil on canvas in which Longfield uses thin, diaphanous washes of greens and blues to create a mesmerizing, biomorphic composition. Art critic R.H. Hagan, writing in 1949, enthused in the San Francisco Chronicle that “of all the numerous artists who have taken up the new credo of arbitrary (or spontaneous) expression in unrestrained colors and unrestrained shapes…Longfield impresses me as one of the most successful.”

As a young painter at the University of California, Berkeley, Longfield studied with the founders of the Berkeley School of Abstract Expressionism, including Margaret Peterson, John Haley, and Erle Loran. She later attended the California School of Fine Arts 1947 to 1949, where her work was influenced by Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, Edward Corbett, and Mark Rothko; the artist is the only woman in a 1948 historical photograph taken by William Heick. Landauer adds that Longfield “became one of the few women Still admitted into his inner circle,” but, she adds, “of greater significance is the role Longfield played in establishing the artist-run Metaart galleries, the forerunner of a series of underground venues that would flourish in San Francisco during the 1950s.” The artist abandoned painting in 1951.

“We are thrilled to embark on a collaboration with the Estate of Zoe Longfield to continue the rediscovery of this unique and enigmatic artist," said Elizabeth Sadeghi, Partner at Van Doren Waxter, "and we will work to create a new and broad awareness of her and her adventurous and striking output. We are grateful to David Keaton, Modern Art West for his astute insight in recognizing the importance of Zoe Longfield's work and for his ongoing support and collaboration.”

abstract photo

The Surrealist Impulse

North Carolina Museum of Art | Mariah Robertson

August 12, 2023–January 28, 2024

The early 20th-century movement surrealism was groundbreaking for its time. Developed in response to the travesty of World War I, the art and literary phenomenon invigorated artists and thinkers to explore dreams, the irrational and uncanny, and the poetic in their works. These principles reverberate in the 21st century, where surrealism remains a chief inspiration.

Processing Abstraction

Processing Abstraction

Fralin Museum of Art | Hedda Sterne

Through December 31, 2023

Pour, drip, splash, stain, spray, soak, splatter—these words are often used to describe abstract artists’ experimental application of paint. The creative process of many abstract painters is highly visible in their finished artworks. Vigorous brushstrokes, saturated canvases, and atmospheric surfaces all demonstrate the expansive use of the medium. For over 100 years, abstraction has reigned as a major expressive form in painting with continuously changing techniques and styles. Abstract paintings are frequently interpreted according to their visual components, but their socio-political contexts are also vital for understanding.


This exhibition features large-scale abstract paintings from the museum’s collection spanning the mid-1950s to the late 2000s by Gene Davis, Sam Francis, Sam Gilliam, Sheila Isham, Suzanne McClelland, Joan Mitchell, Larry Poons, and Hedda Sterne. While not unified through a particular artistic movement or chronology, each artwork demonstrates the vast potential of paint.

Heroines of the Abstract Expressionist Era

Heroines of the Abstract Expressionist Era

The Southampton Arts Center | Hedda Sterne

October 7 – December 17, 2023

The exhibition will bring together works from the renowned collections of Rick Friedman and Cindy Lou Wakefield. The exhibition promises to be a celebration of women and their place in art history. Explore their masterful compositions and discover the stories behind each brushstroke, as these talented artists take you on a journey through their artistic universe.

large abstract grey painting by James Brooks

James Brooks

A Painting is a Real Thing

August 6 - October 15, 2023

The Parrish Art Museum is organizing James Brooks: A Painting is a Real Thing, a comprehensive survey of significant scope comprised of some fifty paintings drawn from public and private U.S. collections. Throughout his long and prolific career James Brooks (1906–1992) advocated, with a messianic zeal, the primacy of paint—what happens on the surface—as the only authentic “subject” of a work of art. He embraced experimentation and shied away from developing any dominant method or style in order to avoid, as he once put it, “one’s own pictorial clichés.” Color alone remains the consistent and essential component in Brooks’s work. James Brooks: A Painting is a Real Thing will be shown at the Parrish from August 8 through October 25, 2020. 

abstract painting

Jack Tworkov: Drawings 1948 – 1981

Vero Beach Museun

May 26 – September 3, 2023

In a career that played out over seven decades, two phases become clear in the work of Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) that emphasizes the artist’s progressive, conceptual, and humanist approach.


The first phase dates from the late 1940’s through the mid 1960’s and confirms Tworkov as one of the giants of the first generation of Abstract Expressionism—where emotion and his embrace of a distinct gestural mark were paramount. Drawing at this time was a method Tworkov used to “strike out in wildly different directions” so he could then go to the canvas without any preconceived plan.


The second phase, often argued into silence, dates from mid-1960’s to 1980’s, and links him to the new dialogue of minimalism. In these drawing, which take a cooler more measured approach, geometry may appear to be paramount as a bold element of the composition, but it is the measured repetitive rhythmic stroke that carries the day. In many instances, drawing was the planning stage for the painting. Tworkov’s aim was to arrive at a style in which a plan did not exclude intuitive and sometimes “random play.”


For this creative shift, Tworkov was celebrated as a Radical Pro by Art News in April 1964, and yet it was only emblematic of his emphatic desire never to repeat himself, to “paint no Tworkovs.”


The exhibition is accompanied by a publication.

a sculpture hung on the wall

Ecstatic: Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection

The Hammer Museum | Alan Shields

June 10 – August 27, 2023

Focused on sculpture and works on paper, Ecstatic adds another dimension to the museum-wide presentation of the Hammer Contemporary Collection. The exhibition is organized around two distinct installations that emphasize the role of each medium within the scope of the museum’s collecting. Featuring works by a wide range of artists, including Kelly Akashi, Eddie Aparicio, Kevin Beasley, Cecily Brown, Fiona Connor, Liz Craft, Luis Flores, Simone Leigh, Paul McCarthy, Shahryar Nashat, Senga Nengudi, Jim Shaw, and more, Ecstatic builds upon the precedent of past Hammer collection exhibitions that have argued for the central role that drawing and sculpture occupy within Los Angeles and the broader field of contemporary art.

installation view


Parrish Art Museum | Alan Shields

PART I A | April 16 to August 6, 2023

Celebrating the Museum’s 125th anniversary, this landmark exhibition honors the East End’s rich artistic legacy and brings greater attention to major artists practicing here today. Forty-one renowned artists with deep local roots are selecting works from the collection to be shown along with their own. The exhibition, organized in three installations, is driving a renewed dialogue between the Museum’s past and future and reveals new perspectives of its collection through the lens of a diverse roster of artists.


The artists were invited to delve into the Museum’s 3,600-volume holdings online and at the Parrish to select works. Many artists reminisce on the relevance of the East End in their lives and approach to art. The result is a multilayered anthology of visual dialogues from unique perspectives, revealing a shared sense of community on the East End and continuing the artistic legacy of the region that radiates in the global art world. By pairing their work in unexpected and creative manners with work by Museum collection artists from the past and present, the participants crafted new narratives that explore perception and perspective, place and identity, formal connections, or personal and professional relationships.


Artists Choose Parrish is organized by Corinne Erni, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with additional support from Kaitlin Halloran, Assistant Curator and Publications Coordinator, and Brianna L. Hernández, Assistant Curator.

geometric abstract painting

Women and Abstraction: 1741–Now

Addison Gallery of American Art | Jackie Saccoccio & Hedda Sterne

January 28 - July 30, 2023

The important work done over the past decades to illuminate the contributions of historically marginalized and overlooked women has largely concentrated on white painters associated with the postwar, 20th-century New York school’s abstract expressionism. While Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and others among their contemporaries have rightfully been ensconced in the pantheon of great American abstract artists, many more—from all periods—remain neglected by scholars and museums alike. This exhibition proposes a different way of looking at abstraction in American art. 


Drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection, Women and Abstraction: 1741–Now is not a comprehensive survey. Instead, this installation takes advantage of the Addison’s deep holdings to explore a more nuanced and expansive history of the development of abstraction in America. Through the inclusion of works created hundreds of years before the advent of abstract expressionism as well as objects historically denied the status of fine art, this exhibition explores how women have deployed the visual language and universal formal concerns of abstraction—color, line, form, shape, contrast, pattern, and texture—to create works of art across a wide variety of media (including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, ceramics, and textiles) from the 18th century to the present day. Rejecting chronology, hierarchies of medium, and the restrictive definitions of art movements, Women and Abstraction invites the viewer to draw aesthetic connections across seemingly disparate objects, complicating ingrained notions of what abstraction is and is not.

logo with a blue background with Blanton written in white

Day Jobs

Marsha Cottrell | Blanton Museum of Art

February 19 - July 23, 2023

One of the typical measures of success for artists is the ability to quit their day jobs and focus full time on making art. Yet these roles are not always an impediment to an artist’s career. This exhibition illuminates how day jobs can spur creative growth by providing artists with unexpected new materials and methods, working knowledge of a specific industry that becomes an area of artistic interest or critique, or a predictable structure that opens space for unpredictable ideas.

abstract picture

Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art | Mariah Robertson

February 16 – July 02, 2023

How does one experience a photograph that appears “unphotographic”? Focusing on the material and tactile properties of the medium, Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now is the first contemporary survey to examine cameraless photography across generations, cultures, and ideologies. Referred to as photograms or contact prints, cameraless photographs are made using analogue photography’s foundational elements: light, chemistry, and light-sensitive surfaces.


Presenting recent work by over 40 artists–including Yto Barrada, Iñaki Bonillas, Ellen Carey, Hernease Davis, Sheree Hovsepian, Roberto Huarcaya, Kei Ito, Dakota Mace, Fabiola Menchelli, Lisa Oppenheim, Daisuke Yokota, among many others–Direct Contact highlights many emerging global artists and features primarily women-identifying artists. Unfolding across five sections–Age, Scale, Form, Texture, and Value–Direct Contact positions cameraless photography as both an intellectual cornerstone in the medium’s history and an enduring and important force within contemporary art.


The exhibition is curated by Lauren Richman, Assistant Curator of Photography.

abstract green print

Richard Diebenkorn in Color at Crown Point Press

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

September 10, 2022 - February 12, 2023

As part of the centennial celebrating the life and work of Richard Diebenkorn, we are presenting a chronological survey featuring 20 prints from Diebenkorn’s color printmaking sessions at Crown Point Press, including color woodcuts produced at its program in Kyoto, Japan. Diebenkorn made his first color prints at Crown Point Press in 1980 and produced many more over the following 13 years. Highlights of this exhibition include his largest print, Green, 1986, and his last prints, High Green Version I and Version II, completed shortly before his death in 1993.


This exhibition takes place during the artist’s centennial, a year-long series of museum installations and new scholarship celebrating the life and art of Richard Diebenkorn (1922 – 1993). #Diebenkorn100

abstract painting

The Shape of Freedom: International Abstraction after 1945

Hedda Sterne | Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Germany

June 4 — September 25, 2022

The exhibition examines the creative interplay between Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel in transatlantic exchange and dialogue, from the mid-1940s to the end of the Cold War.

Richard Diebenkorn at the Cantor

Richard Diebenkorn at the Cantor

September 4, 2019 - ongoing

See an intimate and interactive installation of famed Bay Area artist Richard Diebenkorn’s paintings and sketchbooks that shed light on the artist’s process, including his shift from figurative to more abstract work.

Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera

Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera

Hedda Sterne | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 28, 2018 - Ongoing

Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera will begin in the 1940s and extend into the twenty-first century to explore large-scale abstract painting, sculpture, and assemblage through more than fifty works from The Met collection, a selection of loans, and promised gifts and new acquisitions. Iconic works from The Met collection, such as Jackson Pollock's classic "drip" painting Autumn Rhythm (1950) and Louise Nevelson's monumental Mrs. N's Palace (1964–77), will be shown in conversation with works by international artists, such as Japanese painter Kazuo Shiraga and the Hungarian artist Ilona Keserü. The exhibition will be punctuated with special loans of major works by Helen Frankenthaler, Carmen Herrera, Shiraga, Joan Snyder, and Cy Twombly.


In the wake of unprecedented destruction and loss of life during World War II, many painters and sculptors working in the 1940s grew to believe that traditional easel painting and figurative sculpture no longer adequately conveyed the human condition. In this context, numerous artists, including Barnett Newman, Pollock, and others associated with the so-called New York School, were convinced that abstract styles—often on a large scale—most meaningfully evoked contemporary states of being. Many of the artists represented in Epic Abstraction worked in large formats not only to explore aesthetic elements of line, color, shape, and texture but also to activate scale's metaphoric potential to evoke expansive—"epic"—ideas and subjects, including time, history, nature, the body, and existential concerns of the self.