Ripley Auctions

Lot 231

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Description: Stephen Pace
(American, 1918-2010)
untitled, 1964
watercolor on paper
signed lower right. From an private collector, Indianapolis, IN. From askArt: Stephen Pace was born on December 12, 1918 in Deventer, a small town in southeast Missouri near the Mississippi River. When Pace was six, his parents moved to Indiana where they ran a small grocery store. Ten years later they moved to a farm near New Harmony, Indiana. Stephen Pace's formal education began at the age of seventeen. He studied with Robert Lahr, an accomplished artist living in Evansville who helped Pace achieve a high degree of mastery in drawing and watercolor. With the onslaught of World War II, Pace was called into service. Stationed in England, he painted watercolors of local scenes in his free time. After the war in 1945, Pace returned to Indiana and his studies with Lahr. But at the age of 27, he decided to go to Mexico on the G.I. Bill and enrolled in the Institute of Fine Arts in San Miguel Allende. Then, on his way back from Mexico after a year of study, Steve Pace paused in a New Orleans bus station. "I knew if I went back to the Midwest they'd put me to work on the farm, so I flipped a coin, heads, New York, tails, San Francisco." It came up heads and so it happened that Pace went to New York where he studied at the Art Students League in 1948-49. From New York he traveled to Florence in 1950, and at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in 1951. But Pace's destiny was in New York. He returned and was drawn into the heady atmosphere of New York in the late forties and early fifties, the orbit of Abstract Expressionism, and the Hofmann School. Hans Hofmann's precepts crop up repeatedly in Pace's work. The importance of the space outside the rectangle, the need for drawing from life because "painting has to come from somewhere," the dynamic of the push and pull, the structuring with color and the spatial tensions set up between the jostling areas of bright primary colors. During the 1950s Pace was immersed in the world of the New York School, showing at most of the Whitney annuals and at the artist-run invitations at the Stable Galley. He frequented local artist's taverns and became good friends with leading Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline. Pace and other younger abstract expressionists, most of whom were World War II veterans, knew little about the Surrealist phase of Abstract Expressionism with its emphasis on the search for myth and veiling the subjects.
28"H x 21"W (image) 35"H x 37"W (frame)

  • Dimensions: 28"H x 21"W (image) 35"H x 37"W (frame)
  • Medium: watercolor on paper

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January 16, 2021 11:00 AM EST

Indianapolis, IN, US

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