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Gertrude Abercrombie

Gertrude Abercrombie (b. 1909, Austin, TX; d. 1977, Chicago, IL) was a critical, under-considered fixture of mid-century American Surrealism. Well-known as a staple of the Chicago jazz scene, Abercrombie earned the epithets “queen of the bohemian artists” and the “other Gertrude,” in reference to Gertrude Stein. Her diaristic paintings were preceded by the legacy of French Surrealism and succeeded by the Chicago Imagists of the 1960s, such as Christina Ramberg, Jim Nutt, and Roger Brown. Rooted in fantasy, Abercrombie’s dreamscapes, still lifes, and self-portraits feature a visual lexicon inspired by her daily life: shells, eggs, black cats, doors, bowls of fruit, Victorian furniture, and moonlit landscapes.

Abercrombie’s work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Lewistown, Lockport; The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; and Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee. 

Single work, Gertrude Abercrombie

Born 1909, Austin, Texas
Died 1977, Chicago

EDUCATION

1929

University of Illinois

1930

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Gertrude Abercrombie: Moored to the Moon (forthcoming)

2018

Karma, New York
Elmhurst Art Museum; Illinois State Museum, Springfield; Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as Landscape, organized by Jenny Gibbs

1991

Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Gertrude Abercrombie

1977

Gertrude Abercrombie Retrospective, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago

1964

Gilman Galleries, Chicago

1960

Devorah Sherman Gallery, Chicago

1956

Chess House, Chicago

1955

Esquire Theatre, Chicago

1954-55

Marshall Field and Company, Chicago

1954

Irv Benjamin’s Restaurant, Chicago

1953

Illinois Design Center, Chicago
John Fordon Gallery, Aurora, Illinois
Newman Brown Gallery, Chicago

1952

Leonard Linn Gallery, Winnetka, Illinois
Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York
Newman Brown Gallery, Chicago
Stevens-Gross Gallery, Chicago
Bresler Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1948

Chicago Public Library, Art Room

1946

Associated American Artists, New York

1944

Marshall Field and Company, Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021

Trienens Galleries, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Five Women Ahead of Their Time (forthcoming)

Toledo Art Museum, Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art

Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, Indiana, Lost and Looking

University of Georgia, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Extra Ordinary: Magic, Mystery and Imagination in American Realism
Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Columbia, American Women Artists Since the Vote

2020

Karma, New York, (Nothing but) Flowers

2019

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago at MASP, São Paulo, Picture Gallery in Transformation
Heather James Fine Art, New York, The Female Gaze: Women Surrealists in the Americas and Europe
Independent Art Fair, New York, Gertrude Abercrombie, Ann Craven, Nicolas Party, Matthew Wong

2018-19

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, The Moon: From Inner Worlds to Outer Space

2018

The Arts Club of Chicago, A Home for Surrealism

2015-16

MCA Chicago, Chicago, Surrealism: The Conjured Life

2012

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States
Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences, Peoria, Illinois, Skirting Convention: Illinois Women Artists 1840-1940

2005

Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin, With Friends: Six Magic Realists 1940-1965

1989-90

Washington Project for the Arts, Washington DC, The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism

1983

Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Gertrude Abercrombie and Friends
Illinois State Museum, Springfield,  After the Great Crash: New Deal Art in Illinois
Madison Art Center, Wisconsin, Women Look at Women

1982

Rutgers University Art Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Realism and Realities: The Other Side of American Painting, 1940-60

1980

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, Selections from the Collection of George M. Irwin

1976

Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 1939-76
Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Emergence of Modernism in Illinois, 1914- 40

1972

Bergman Gallery, University of Chicago, 57th St. Art Fair 25th Anniversary, Collector’s Retrospective

1971-2

Illinois Arts Council, Painters and Sculptors in Illinois, 1820-1945

1967

Art Institute of Chicago, 70th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity

1966

One Day May Festival of Art, Chicago

1965

Gilman Gallery, Chicago, Primitives
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Art History Gallery, An Artist Collects: Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Karl Priebe

1962

Renaissance Society, University of Chicago Collector’s Choice
Renaissance Society, University of Chicago Centennial Exhibition: Hyde Park Collects
Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Hyde Park Art: Past and Present

1960

Art Institute of Chicago, 63rd Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity

1957

Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists Exhibi­tion, Chicago
Old Town Art Gallery, Chicago

1956

Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago

1955-56

Art Institute of Chicago, Sales and Rental Gallery

1955

Art Institute of Chicago, 58th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Magnificent Mile Art Festival, Chicago Stevens-Gross Gallery, Chicago

1954

Renaissance Society, Uni­versity of Chicago, Paintings, Prints, Drawings, Sculpture by Artist Members
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Myrtle Todes Gallery, Highland Park, Illinois

1953

57th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity, Art Institute of Chicago
Mandel Brothers Gallery, Chicago, Exhibition of Chicago Artists’ Self-Portraits

1952

12th Annual Spring Purchase Exhibition, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts
Artists Equity Association of Chicago Exhibition, Mandel Brothers Gallery, Chicago
Marshall Field and Company, Chicago
Peggy Palmer Burrows Studio, Chicago

1951-2

Holiday Show, Layton Art Galleries, Milwaukee

1951

Art Institute of Chicago, 55th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
University of Illinois, Urbana, Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, 1948-51
New Studio Gallery, Chicago
Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York

1950

Art Institute of Chicago, 54th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
New Studio Gallery, Chicago
Artists Equity Association of Chicago Exhibition, Mandel Brothers Gallery, Chicago

1949

Art Institute of Chicago, 53rd Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity

1948

Art Institute of Chicago, 52nd Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity

1947

Art Institute of Chicago, 51st Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Riverside Museum, New York, Second Annual Exhibition of the La Tausca Art Competition circulated by the American Federation of Arts
Hyde Park Outdoor Art Fair, Chicago
Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Art for Young Collectors

1946

Chicago Society of Artists Exhibition, New Trier High School Gallery, Winnetka, Illinois
Art Institute of Chicago, The Fiftieth Annual Exhibition of Works by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity

1945

Society for Contemporary American Art, Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago, 56th Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture
Western College, Oxford, Ohio, The Women: An Exhibition of Paintings by Contemporary American Women
Associated American Artists Gallery, New York, First Show of Chicago Artists
Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Painting and Sculpture by Chicago Artists

1944

Art Institute of Chicago, 55th Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture
Art Institute of Chicago, 48th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Art Institute, Milwaukee
Fourth Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Paintings, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Illinois, Drawings by Contemporary Artists

1943

Art Institute of Chicago, 47th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Art Institute, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Cordon Club, Chicago, Exhibition of Women Painters and Sculptors of Chicago

1942

Art Institute of Chicago, 46th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Passedoit Gallery, New York
Art Institute of Chicago, 53rd Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture
World’s Fair Show, San Francisco

1941

Art Institute of Chicago, 52nd Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture
Art Institute of Chicago, 45th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Illinois, Works by Chicago Artists loaned by Chicago Collectors
University of Minnesota Gallery, Some Individuals

1940

Art Institute of Chicago, 19th International Watercolor Exhibition
Art Institute of Chicago, 44th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Four American Traveling Exhibitions

1939

Art Institute of Chicago, 43rd Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, International Water Color Exhibition
New York World’s Fair Show, Museum of Modern Art, New York, American Art Today
Frontiers of American Art, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco
University of Minnesota
River­side Museum, New York, Chicago Society of Artists Exhibition
Katharine Kuh Gallery, Chicago

1938-39

Great Lakes Exhibition, Paintings by artists of the Great Lakes Region (circulating exhibition-Albright Art Gallery for the Patterson Society, Buffalo, New York)

1938

Art Institute of Chicago, W.P. A. Art for the Public by Chicago Artists
49th Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago, 17th International Watercolor Exhibition
Art Institute of Chicago, 42nd Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts
Lake Shore Athletic Club Annual Invitation Exhibition
Katharine Kuh Gallery, Chicago

1937

Art Institute of Chicago, 41st Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Katharine Kuh Gallery, Chicago
Chicago Society of Artists, Annual Exhibition

1936

Art Institute of Chicago, 15th-14th International Watercolor Exhibition
Art Institute of Chicago, 40th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute,Pittsburgh, Exhibition of Paintings by Chicago Artists
City of New York Municipal Art Committee, New York, First National Exhibition of American Art
Katharine Kuh Gallery, Chicago
Boyer Galleries, Inc., Philadelphia, Paintings by Chicago Artists
Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, 12th Annual Exhibition
Mandel Brothers Gallery, Chicago and Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois, Chicago Society of Artists Calendar Exhibi­tion
Chicago Society of Artists, Chicago, Annual Exhibition

1935

Traveling Exhibition of the Chicago Society of Artists, circulated from Delphic Studios, New York, by American Federation of Arts (to Trenton, New Jersey; Washington DC; Delaware, Ohio; Bemidji, Minnesota; and Rockford, Illinois)
Art Institute of Chicago, 46th Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture
Art Institute of Chicago, 14th International Watercolor Exhibition
Art Institute of Chicago, 39th Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Salon des Refuses, The Davis Store Galleries
University Guild, Evanston, Illinois, Exhibition of Paintings by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
Act L Century Gallery, Chicago
Katharine Kuh Gallery, Chicago
Provincetown Studio of the Century Gallery, Massachusetts
Annual Exhibition, Chicago Society of Artists

1934

11th Annual Exhibition, Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists
Annual Exhibition, Chicago Society of Artists
Abbott’s Art Store Gallery, Chicago

1933

Grant Park Outdoor Art Fair
Head Show, Little Gallery, Chicago
World’s Fair Exhibition, Kroch’s Book Store, Chicago

1932

Increase Robinson’s Studio Gallery, Chicago, Portraits of Chicago Artists by Chicago Artists

Public Collections

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Illinois State Museum, Illinois Legacy Collection
Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, Illinois
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Art Museum ,Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois
Elmhurst State College

Publications

2019

Gertrude Abercrombie, Ann Craven, Nicolas Party, Matthew Wong
Karma, New York
60 pages
8 1⁄4 × 11 inches

2018

Gertrude Abercrombie
Essays by Robert Cozzolino, Robert Storr, and Susan Weininger, and an interview by Studs Terkel
Karma, New York
488 pages, hardcover
7 1/2 × 9 1/4 inches

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