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Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine

August 21-October 23 (closed Labor Day Weekend)

Local presentation made possible through funding of the Reynold, Emanuel and Johnnie Gause Leak Holmén Endowment Fund for the Visual Arts.


Perle Fine, Summer I, 1958-59, oil and collage on canvas, 57 x 70", Collection of Jeanne Nielsen. © Perle Fine.

The work of Perle Fine (1905-1988) opens a window into and reevaluates a fascinating period of American art. An active participant in the first wave of American abstract art of the 1930s, Fine took part in the trajectory of Abstract Expressionism- from Cubist-inspired geometry and symbol systems to full-fledged gestural action painting. By the mid-1940s, Fine had New York solo shows and was included in breakthrough avant-garde exhibitions. Seeking a calm studio environment, Fine and husband Maurice Berezov (1902-1989) moved to the East End of Long Island in the 1950s. While Fine taught at Hofstra University from the early 1960s until 1974, she simplified her painting into a sort of floating geometry that continued her earlier exploration of forms in space. The titles of her paintings point to a search for universal meaning-in nature and the cosmos, philosophy and psychology, and in other art forms like music and dance. The overview of Fine's work includes photos by Maurice Berezov, who had a Madison Avenue advertising career. In both New York City and on Long Island, he carried a small handheld camera, capturing valuable images that document growth in American avant-garde art.

The traveling exhibition, organized by Hofstra University Museum and Perle Fine Retrospective, Inc. with independent curator Susan Knowles, includes a 1938 charcoal drawing by Fine, Gift of Dr. Thomas B. Brumbaugh as part of a significant collection of 100 works of art gifted and lent as The Thomas B. Brumbaugh Art History Collection, Augustana College. The Augustana venue of the Perle Fine exhibition is dedicated in honor of Thomas Brendle Brumbaugh, Professor of Fine Arts, Emeritus, Vanderbilt University.

Additional funding for this exhibition has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts; Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust; Judith Rothschild Foundation; and the Kanter Family Foundation. Presenting sponsors are Mr. and Mrs. Earl S. Swensson, A.E. Artworks; and Edgetex Industries.

Perle Fine, Sketch for a Cubist Still Life, 1938, charcoal drawing, Gift of Dr. Thomas B. Brumbaugh Art History Collection, Augustana College, © Perle Fine.