We are pleased to announce that Pat Passlof’s Ile Fra (1960) has been acquired by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Pat Passlof (b. Brunswick, GA, 1928, d. New York, NY, 2011) was an abstract painter of the New York School whose tireless exploration of color and form gave her work a distinct voice. Having grown up in New York, in 1948 Passlof traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to study at the famed Black Mountain College, where she took classes with Willem de Kooning. This summer proved pivotal for her trajectory as a painter; she continued to study with de Kooning privately after returning to New York, eventually leaving the city again to earn a BFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Back in New York in the 1950s, she became a fixture in the downtown arts scene, attending meetings at The Club (eventually organizing “The Wednesday Night Club”), showing at the March Gallery, and marrying fellow painter Milton Resnick.
Passlof’s early work built on her art education. She utilized biomorphic forms like those in the contemporary work of Arshile Gorky and de Kooning as well and was influenced by existentialist ideology which informed Abstract Expressionism. However, Passlof was always individualistic and her work was constantly varied in terms of touch, form, and palette.
By the 1960s her palette was beginning to lighten. She used repeated patterns and marks across the canvas to create dynamic rhythms. She drew upon experiences and memories, as noted by titles referring to people and places. Her work often suggested abstracted landscapes, like the later work of Claude Monet, although Passlof often worked in a vertical format.