early abstract


Final weeks! Experience works by Alexander Calder as the artist intended—in motion. On view through October 23, Calder: Hypermobility features major examples of Calder’s work including early motor-driven abstractions, sound-generating Gongs, and standing and hanging mobiles. The exhibition includes daily activations, one-time demonstrations of rarely seen works, and new commissions that bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder’s innovations. Visit whitney.org to see a schedule of programs and buy tickets.

Painter Elaine de Kooning working on John F Kennedy painting in Manhattan studio, 1964, New York, NY. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE.

In 1962 Elaine de Kooning was commissioned to paint a portrait of President John F. Kennedy to be hung in the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. De Kooning was one of the early participants in the Abstract Expressionist movement. She was given access to the president during his winter sojourn in Palm Beach, Florida, in late 1962 and early 1963.


“Just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions.“
Alexander Calder

Don’t miss the must-see exhibition Calder: Hypermobility, which The New York Times called "a high-spirited showcase.” On view through Monday only, the exhibition features major examples of Alexander Calder’s work—from early motor-driven abstractions to hanging mobiles.


August Strindberg (1849–1912, Sweden)


Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. Strindberg’s career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics. From his earliest work, Strindberg developed innovative forms of dramatic action, language, and visual composition. He is considered the father of modern Swedish literature and his The Red Room (1879) has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel.

Painting and photography offered vehicles for his belief that chance played a crucial part in the creative process. Strindberg’s paintings were unique for their time, and went beyond those of his contemporaries for their radical lack of adherence to visual reality. The 117 paintings (mostly landscapes) that are acknowledged as his were mostly painted within the span of a few years, and are now seen by some as among the most original works of 19th-century art.