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..
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
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.