Alan Gussow’s inspiring artistry delights in our natural world. Through his art practice he sought to bring widespread attention to the splendor and minutiae of our environment. This is particularly evident in his watercolor paintings. Gussow spent his summers in Maine and while there he made delicate, intimate, small-scale watercolor paintings through the 1970s-1990s. In these works, we see the artist’s shifting amalgam of abstraction and realism with nature as his muse. He demonstrates a keen mastery of the watercolor medium with nimble, skilled brushwork and lush, vibrant colors. Included herein are a selection of Gussow’s elegies to the Maine landscape and the intimate phenomena that so inspired and delighted him. Many of these works have rarely been seen and never before been exhibited or published.
In a career that spanned nearly fifty years, Gussow achieved significant recognition. His unique imagery adroitly captured the intimate link between man and the environment, invoking his personal encounters with the smells, sounds, tastes, and sensations of nature. His work is infused with deep cultural and environmental insights, rooted in a beautifully refined aesthetic, and a visual celebration of the places he explored and experienced passionately. As his engagement with environmentalism grew, Gussow used landscape painting to enhance our focus towards the earth and our experiences with nature. His legacy lives on as a brilliant artist sustained and inspired by nature.
Over the past few years, the gallery has placed works by Gussow in several prominent private and public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; and Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME. In addition, Gussow’s work can be found in public collections throughout the United States and in Europe, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; Flint Institute of Arts, MI; Palmer Museum of Art, University Park, PA; Montgomery Museum of Art, AL; Greenville County Museum of Art, SC; and the National Museum, Udine, Italy.
A graduate of Middlebury College, Gussow went on to study painting at Cooper Union from 1952 to 1953. During his studies, Gussow became the youngest American to be awarded the Prix de Rome, and traveled to the American Acad - emy in Rome where he worked from 1953 to 1955. In 1977, Gussow received the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Art. Throughout his career, he published numerous articles, essays and monographs includ - ing the book, A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Landscape (1998), which paired four decades of American landscape painting with excerpts of the artists’ writings. Both this book as well as his previous publication, The Artist as Native: Reinventing Regionalism (1993), were accompanied by full exhibitions which traveled to museums and galleries nationwide. Born in New York City and raised in Rockville Center, NY, Gussow later moved to Piermont, NY where he lived and worked until his death in 1997.