Opening October 25, 2016, Seen and Unseen

Explores the Parallels and Divergences in the Work of the Artists,

Who Painted and Lived on Long Island’s East End for Five Decades

unnamed-3Jane Freilicher and Jane Wilson, Water Mill, New York, July, 1962. Photograph by John Jonas Gruen

The Parrish Art Museum has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation in support of Jane Freilicher and Jane Wilson: Seen And Unseen, the first museum exhibition that brings together paintings and works on paper by two notable figures in American art who lived and worked on the East End of Long Island for nearly 50 years. The Gardiner Foundation provides support for projects that make the greatest possible impact on promoting the appreciation of Suffolk County cultural heritage. Seen and Unseen, on view at the Museum from October 25, 2015 through January 18, 2016, reveals how the region’s verdant natural surroundings influenced and inspired Freilicher and Wilson, who were drawn to the vibrant artist community in the late 1950s. The two groundbreaking artists emphatically claimed their mature artistic territory on the East End, where, after decades-long careers, they left enduring legacies.

“By establishing a presence on the East End of Long Island, Jane Freilicher and Jane Wilson continued the region’s profound artistic tradition that spans two centuries and encompasses the most significant movements in American art from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art and beyond,” says Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan. “Through its generous grant for Seen and Unseen, the Gardiner Foundation supports the Museum’s effort to communicate the impact of these world-renowned artists to regional, national, and international audiences.”

According to Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of the Gardiner Foundation, “The Parrish Art Museum has a proven dedication to the cultural growth of this region and has shown a commitment to recognize the artistic heritage of Long Island. This exhibition creates shared links with our local community by identifying and celebrating its talents and assets. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation is pleased to be part of this experience.”

Seen and Unseen, organized by Alicia G. Longwell, Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator, Art and Education, illuminates this focus. Freilicher and Wilson were introduced to the region by fellow artists Fairfield Porter and Larry Rivers, who were already painting on the East End. By 1960, both women had established permanent homes in the hamlet of Water Mill, where they lived and worked within a mile of one another. The exhibition shows how the storied light and natural beauty of the region became a primary focus of, and major influence on, the work of Freilicher and Wilson, close friends whose professional and personal lives converged and diverged over the course of the next five decades.

Organized thematically, the exhibition spans the full range of the artists’ explorations of landscape, still life, and portraits from the 1950s through 2007, revealing how each pushed the boundaries of traditional approaches to create highly individual accounts of the world around them. Jane Freilicher and Jane Wilson: Seen and Unseen features approximately 20 paintings by each artist as well as works on paper, plus portraits of the two women painted by Fairfield Porter and Alex Katz, and photographs by Wilson’s husband John Jonas Gruen, chronicling the women’s lives.

Seen and Unseen will be accompanied by a fully illustrated 130-page catalogue featuring more than 50 full-color illustrations, highlighting the most important paintings created by the artists over the course of their careers. The central essay, authored by Longwell, explores the parallels and divergences in the artists’ work over five decades. An introduction by Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan places the exhibition in the overall context of the Museum’s role in the creative legacy of Long Island’s East End.


Parrish Art Museum


Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.


The Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation


The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation was founded in Hamptons Bays, New York, in 1987 with the mission to educate and inform the general public in Suffolk County concerning the culture, art, and tradition of the locality; to cultivate, foster, and promote interest in, and understanding and appreciation of the societal heritage of Suffolk County; to encourage and sponsor the creation and perpetuation by historical societies of collections and repositories of documents and artifacts that represent local heritage and traditions; and to sponsor and encourage preservation, restoration, and exhibition by historical societies of historical buildings, homes, and facilities. The Foundation was named for Robert David Lion Gardiner, who had a personal passion for New York History and was the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, owned by the Gardiner family and their descendants since 1639.