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R.I.P Grace Hartigan

gracehartigan Sweden by Grace Hartigan
(Image via)

Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara (One Poet’s Notes)

Grace Hartigan, one of the New York painters associated with poets John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Frank O’Hara in the 1950s during the early days of their careers, died last Saturday, November 15, at the age of 86.

NYtimes obit

“Or perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity.”

Imagine! Painters and Poets of the New York School

Questions of identity in “Oranges” by Frank O’Hara and Grace Hartigan

Grace Hartigan interview, 1979 May 10, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

I remember this painting of mine in the Whitney Museum called “Sweden,” and that’s dedicated to Franz Kline because Franz and I were very good friends and he used to tease me in various ways. I’m Irish but he says I look like a Swedish skier. And he came into the studio one time and I had this painting, and I was worried because I thought maybe the lower right hand corner wasn’t up to the upper left hand corner, and I was complaining to Franz. He looked at me with disbelief and he said, “You mean you want to make it better?” I thought, “Oh, God, that is humiliating. I’m supposed to be some little shopper who’s trying to get the best bargain in a grocery store.” And I’ve never forgotten that, that once the impulse, once the emotion is over, that to fix it up is a rather humiliating plan because then it’s just a patch-over and you’re a shoemaker or something, not an artist.(See her painting “Sweden” above.)

More links and a photo of Frank and Grace at R. Silliman

Frank O’Hara 1, 2
See Frank’s grave here.

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