Lecture: Catherine Dossin

April 13, 2015
6p reception, Kemper Art Museum; 6:30p program, Steinberg Auditorium

As seen from Paris, postwar American art was divided between the New York School located on the East Coast and the Pacific School located on the West Coast—the latter referring to artists such as Lawrence Calcagno, Sam Francis, Clyfford Still, and Mark Tobey. Works by these artists were highly visible in Paris, where they enjoyed public and critical acclaim. To the French, West Coast artists were the true Americans, unlike the New Yorkers who were deemed too European. West Coast art was rooted outside of European traditions, in the American West, the Pacific, and Asia. In postwar France, Asian art and culture fascinated many artists and writers, several of whom were interested in Zen Buddhism and Chinese calligraphy. This fascination largely shaped the French reception and the particular interpretation of postwar American art.