When I start a picture I like to use the medium as directly as I can . . . [this] puts me in a state of mind which avoids pictorial constraints. I try to use paint for its brilliance, transparency, opacity, liquidity, weight, warmth and coolness. These qualities guide me in a process which will determine the climate of the picture. All the while I work to define spatial relationships, resulting in certain kinds of places. I cannot name them but know intuitively when they appear.  

Emily Mason

The Visionary Eye of Allan Stone

Allan Stone; Allan Stone Gallery, New York, c. 1975. Images courtesy of the Allan Stone Collection


Founded in 1960 by art dealer Allan Stone (1932–2006), the New York gallery known today as Allan Stone Projects has been admired for over half a century. Celebrated for its eclectic approach and early advocacy of pivotal artists of the 20th century, Allan Stone Gallery was a leading authority on Abstract Expressionism, the New York dealer for Wayne Thiebaud for over forty years, and showed the works of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Joseph Cornell, John Graham and John Chamberlain. Stone also promoted and collected the work of a younger generation of artists whose aesthetic tendencies were in conversation with the historical holdings in his collection. In addition to modern masterworks and contemporary art, Allan Stone also collected and exhibited international folk art, Americana and important decorative arts and industrial design.

Emily Mason b. 1932

Emily Mason was born in 1932 in New York City. She attended Bennington College and later received her degree from Cooper Union in 1955. That year she was award a Fulbright scholarship in painting, and spent 1956-58 studying at the Academia della Belle Arti in Venice. Mason has exhibited widely since she emerged on the Tenth Street gallery scene with multiple exhibitions at the Area Gallery in New York City in the 1960s. In 1979 she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy. She taught painting at Hunter College for more than thirty years. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Rutgers Archive, New Jersey; Springfield Museum, Massachussets; the New Britain Museum, Connecticut and the National Academy Museum, New York.

The daughter of Alice Mason, a founding member of the American Abstract Artists Group in New York, Emily Mason has continued the family tradition of abstraction over six decades. Her works are distinguished by a sense of intriguing intimacy combined with uncompromising intensity. They evince a sense of structure within open, luminous space and juxtapose robust color harmonies with vivid contrasts that create an engaging optical vibration. Robert Berlind said of Mason in Art in America, “Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.”

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