Warning: main(services.php) [function.main]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/jimp2871/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/add-to-any.php on line 42

Warning: main() [function.include]: Failed opening 'services.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5/pear') in /home/jimp2871/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/add-to-any.php on line 42
Charles Green Shaw – American Abstract Artist founder — Blue Heron Fine Art Blog

Charles Green Shaw – American Abstract Artist founder

by Jim Puzinas on January 14, 2010

As one of the founding members of the American Abstract Artists, a group whose intent was to provide exposure and understanding to the abstract and non-objective world, Charles Green Shaw remains a key figure in the history of American Art.

shawsunBorn into a wealthy family, Shaw was described as a “wealthy man-about-town, poet and minor novelist” before he began to paint seriously when he was in his 30s. His parents died when he was young, and he was raised by an uncle. He graduated from Yale University and then studied at the Art Students League with Thomas Hart Benton.  He also took private lessons from George Luks. Shaw’s work quickly progressed from his still-life studies with Thomas Hart Benton and George Luks to a divergence from cubism, ultimately resulting in pristine forms and ultimate clarity and structure.

He served in World War I and during much of the 1920s, lived in Europe, writing articles for the “New Yorker” and “Smart Set”. Shortly after, he turned to abstract painting and exhibited in important avant-garde shows, including those at the Salons of America, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery, American Abstract Artists, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  His association with  Albert Eugene Gallatin and his prominent Gallery of Living Art from 1935 to 1942 provided a high profile venue to showcase his abstract works to the public.  Along with fellow American Abstract Artists founder George L. K. Morris, these three abstract artists were collectively  dubbed “the Park Avenue Cubists”, a reference to the group’s wealth and societal connections.


Through writings and exhibitions, the American Abstract Artists group strived to educate the general public about the emergence and intellectual underpinings of abstract art. It was this group that paved the way for broader acceptance of what many believe was the first truly American Art movement, Abstract Expressionism.

Shaw’s work is part of most major collections of American Art, including the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

credit: Michael Zellman, “300 Years of American Art”, Peter Falk, “Who Was Who in American Art”, Hollis Taggart Galleries.


Ruben Rivero January 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Abstract art in the 21st century has evolved a little bit, in my opinion, as it now combines abstract features with some teachings of earlier periods, in an attempt to regain a human touch and to produce something not too symmetrical and not too geometrical so that it cannot be forged by IT devices.

Jim Puzinas January 14, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Interesting observation, thanks for commenting.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post: Art Colonies of New England at the Florence Griswold Museum

Next post: Victor Candell, An American Modernist (1903-1977)