Project Description

Born 1927, Oakland, CA

Mala Breuer grew up attending classes in painting and drawing from a young age at the California College of Arts and Crafts. After high school she attended the, now, San Francisco Art Institute where she studied under many notable artists, including Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, David Park, and Mark Rothko. Breuer matured as an artist in, and was profoundly affected by, the era of Abstract Expressionism, focusing more on material and application than representation. By the late 1960s, she was pouring water thinned washes of acrylic paint onto large, wet, stretched, vertical canvases. During an exhibition of those works, a San Francisco gallerist suggested that she head to New York, where abstraction, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art were continuing to gain traction. Breuer listened to this advice and set out to New York with intentions of staying only one year, she stayed for eight. In New York she began working with a palette knife, making direct, abstract marks with dark colors and with great density. She gained recognition as a significant painter during her time there. In 1984 she moved to northern New Mexico, a landscape that influenced Breuer’s use of color, light, and more minimal compositions. Breuer currently lives in New Mexico where she painted for another twenty-plus years; she is now retired from her studio practice.

Mala Breuer attended the, now, San Francisco Art Institute. Her work is included in the public collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, NM; the Albuquerque Museum; the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, NM; FIAC in Paris, France; Capital Group in Los Angeles, CA; and the Laura Carpenter Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

1996 WESTAF/NEA Grant, Santa Fe, NM
1995 SITE Santa Fe Award, Santa Fe, NM
1991 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY
1990 Artist-in-Residence, Roswell, NM

2015 Mala Breuer: From New York to Santa Fe, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
1998 Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
1996 Thomas Blackman Associates, Chicago, IL
1995 Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1993-94 Laura Carpenter Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1988-90 Graham Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1983 Craig Cornelius Gallery, New York, NY
1983 Hadler/Rodriguez Gallery, New York, NY
1981 Hadler/Rodriguez Gallery, New York, NY
1980 SoHo Center for Visual Arts, New York, NY
1976 Source Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1975 Icehouse, San Francisco, CA
1974 Susan Rush Associates, San Francisco, CA
1974  Zara Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1965-67 Labaudt Gallery, San Francisco, CA


2017  Continuum: Art-As-Art, The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM
2016-17  Conversations in Painting, Early 20th Century to Post-War American Art, New Mexico Museum of Fine Art
2013  Friends and Family, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2005 Back to Basics: A Group Show, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2005 The Natalie and Irving Forman Collection, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY
2002-04 Emi Winter, Mala Breuer, Roger Walker, James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
2002 Galerie Albrecht, Munich, Germany
2002 Farm Art Space, Missoula, MT
1998 Artscrawl Summer Group Show I and II, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1998 San Francisco International Exposition, San Francisco, CA
1996 Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1995-96 Award Recipient Exhibition – SITE Santa Fe Honors New Mexico
Artists, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
1994-96 Still Working, National Artists Opening, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
1993 Three Women – Agnes Martin, Mala Breuer, Florence Pierce, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
1989 Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1988 Keats Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1988 Marilyn Butler Gallery Invitational, Santa Fe, NM
1979 New Work, Nieuw Amsterdam, New York, NY
1978-81 Hank Baum Gallery Invitational, San Francisco, CA
1977 Davis and Long Gallery, New York, NY
1977 James Yu Invitational, New York, NY
1975 New Works by West Coast Artists, Susan Rush Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1958 San Francisco Museum of Art Annual, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
FIAC, Paris, France
Capital Group, Los Angeles, CA
Laura Carpenter Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Artsy Editorial : From New York to Santa Fe, Mala Breuer Channels her Environment in Abstract Paintings
Studying under painters like Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still and Richard Diebenkorn, Mala Breuer launched her prolific life as an artist during the 1940’s in San Francisco. Bentley Gallery’s Mala Breuer: New York to Santa Fe exhibition highlights Breuer’s mid-career development as an Abstract Expressionist. Works from the 1970’s to 1990’s demonstrate the artist’s delicate reaction to both time and place as she moved across the United States. 

The Arts Beacon : Mala Breuer at Bentley Gallery
Artist Mala Breuer’s Abstract Expressionist work can clearly be attributed to various interpersonal experiences and schools of thought, but reactions to time and place are also keys to understanding her paintings. Bentley Gallery’s exhibition Mala Breuer: New York to Santa Fe traces the artist’s mid-career movements over two decades, revealing how time and place greatly shaped her work and persona.


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