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The product of six years of research, this book takes a close look at the life and impact of the New York Abstract Expressionist painter Mercedes Matter (1913–2001). Matter was a part of the social axis around Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, and occupied roles as painter, muse, model, critic and educator (she was the founder of the New York Studio School, and was responsible for its hiring Guston, Alex Katz and Morton Feldman among others). Matter's painting might more usefully be called Abstract Impressionism, since her particular skill was for a form of abstraction drawn from still life, but only just recognizable as such, and often not at all, as her figurations frequently tipped over into a joyously dispersed mark-making. This volume, the first thorough survey of its subject, includes reproductions of Matter's paintings, previously unpublished correspondence from her circle (including letters from Hofmann, Krasner and Pollock), vintage portraits of Matter by her husband, the Swiss photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter, and essays exploring her numerous activities and impact.
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