Project Description

1918 (New York, NY) –  2004 (Hartford, CT)

Cleve Gray graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University, where he studied painting and Far Eastern Art.  Like many of his generation, he joined the United States Army during World War II, serving in England, France, and Germany.  After the war, he remained in Paris on the GI Bill, where he furthered his study of painting.  During the 1960s Gray’s work changed dramatically, dissolving his earlier cubist compositions into a seas of distilled color.  This body of work marked the beginning of an artistic meditation that would last for over 40 years.  The rigors of French modernism, the character of Abstract Expressionism, and the calligraphic restraint Eastern art commingle with astounding affect; alternating between explosive energy and contained reflection, between the universal and highly personal.

Gray has exhibited extensively in both museums and galleries across the country.  His work is represented in a number of important collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C..

EDUCATION
1992
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
1940
Bachelors of Art in Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
 
SELECTED HONORS AND AWARDS
1998
American Academy of Arts and Letters Electee
1997
Honorary Trustee, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1988
Commission for Outdoor Art at the Station Competition, Union Station, Hartford, CT
1980
Artist-in-Residence, American Academy, Rome, Italy
1971
Artist-in-Residence, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HI
1970-75
Trustee, New York School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, New York, NY
1968-79
Trustee, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1963
Artist-in-Residence, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK
1961
Ford Foundation Purchase
1948
Critic’s Choice Exhibition, Grand Central Art Gallery, New York, NY
 
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
1996
Threnody, Neuberger Museum of Art, State University New York, Purchase, NY
1995
Cleve Gray: Romantic/Modern, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
1991
Cleve Gray, Eva Cohon Gallery, Chicago and Highland Park, IL
1990
Holocaust Triptychs, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
1987
Cleve Gray Recent Paintings, Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, NC
1984
In Prague, Armstrong Gallery, New York, NY
1981
New Paintings – Roman Walls, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY
1977
Cleve Gray: Paintings 1966-1977, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
1970
Cleve Gray Retrospective, The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
1970
Paintings and Painted Forms, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY
1967
Ceres, Saidenberg Gallery, New York, NY
1964
Recent Paintings, Staempfli Gallery, New York, NY
1955
20th Century Works of Art, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
1948
Cleve Gray, Jacques Seligmann Gallery, New York, NY
 
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
1976
Arte Americana Contemporana, American Embassy, Bucharest, Rumania
1967
Selections 7967, University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
1966
Recent Still Lifes, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1955
24th Biennial Exhibition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1948
Annual Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1948
Paintings of the Year, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
1948
Abstract and Surrealist American Art 34th Annual, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
 

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
1998
Fox Weber, Nicholas. Cleve Gray, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998
1996
Rose, Barbara. Cleve Gray: The Eumenides Series, Berry-Hill Gallery, 1996
1996
Campbell, Lawrence. Cleve Gray at Berry-Hill, Art in America 84, June 1996, p. 98-99
1993
Santlofer, Jonathan. Lions in Winter: American Artists in Their 70’s and 80’s, Art News 92, March 1993, p. 86-91
1988
Hirsh, Linda. Painting Unveiled at Airport, Hartford Courant, May 10, 1988, B4
1988
McGill, Douglas C. Art People, New York Times, February 5, 1988, sec. 3, p. 27
1988
Charles, Eleanor. Works by Cleve Gray, New York Times, July 3, 1988, sec. CT, p.1
1986
Yau, John. Nature as Gesture, Cleve Gray: A Small Retrospective 1934-1986, Armstrong Galleries, 1986
1986
Kuspit, Donald B. Cleve Gray at Armstrong, Art in America 74, no. 10, October 1986, p. 161
1986
Sozanski, Edward J. From an Abstract, ‘Cool’ Painter, a Lively New Style, Philadelphia Enquirer, April 10, 1986, p. SC
1985
Bass, Ruth. Art News, February 1985, p. 148.
1984
Ratcliff, Carter. Cleve Gray: In Prague 1984, Armstrong Gallery, 1984
1982
Wolff, Millie. Irving Galleries Selection Provokes the Mind, Palm Beach Daily News, November 17, 1982, p. 3
1980
Berlin, Marjorie Elliot. Design Through Discovery, brief edition. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. (Threnody 1973)
1979
Shirley, David L. Wall to Wall: Painting by Gray Nears Heroic Proportions, New York Times, August 12, 1979, sec. 12, p. 17
1979
Muchnic, Suzanne,.First Postmerger Show at Otis/Parsons, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1979, sec. 5, p. 7
1977
Cleve Gray: Paintings, 1966-67, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1977
1977
Brunelle, Al. Cleve Gray at Betty Parsons, Art in America, March-April 1977, p 116-17
1974
Diamonstein, Barbaralee. Song of Lamentation, Art News, September 1974, p. 78-79
1970
Canaday, John. New York Times, January 10, 1970, p. 27
1967
Levin, Kim. Gray’s Ceres Series, Art News 66, no. 7, November 1967, p. 52-53, 73-74
1966
Dillenberger, John D. An Opportunity Not to be Missed: Cleve Gray’s Threnody Paintings, Arts: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies 8, no. 2, 1966, p. 30
1966
Benedikt, Michael. Art International 10, no. 1, January 1966, p. 98
1964
Beck, James H. Art News, March 1964, p. 10
1961
Goodrich, Lloyd. American Art of Our Century, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1961
1959
Preston, Stuart. From Tradition to Innovation, New York Times, January 18, 1959, sec. 10, p. 12
1948
Reed, Judith Kaye. London War Ruins, Art Digest, December 15, 1948, p. 21

Artnet – Market Snapshot: Cleve Gray
Major sales suggest a bull market for the artist’s erudite abstractions. Gray’s auction record was broken this May with the sale of the behemoth Rocks and Water #14 (1983) at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. Each of Gray top five sales have taken place within the last two years.

Art and Antiques: An Active Void
Cleve Gray’s ever-changing life was catalogued not only in his paintings, but the writings he left behind. Gray’s early criticisms of Abstract Expressionism eventually gave way to his own Expressionist aesthetic in which he attempted to strip away notions of ego. Art and Antiques provides an extensive article about his life, from his service in the Second World War to his passing in 2004. 

The New York Times – Art:2 Looks at his Works
At a time when Abstract Expressionism was on the rise in America, Cleve Gray went from critic to active participant in the iconic mid-century movement. Gray was a painter whose works (in retrospect) occupied a spectrum of conceptual approaches. In his constant exploration of figure and ground, his shifting ideas were seemingly akin to his fondness of Chinese opposites.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject
Cleve Gray

Item of interest

Your Message