McClain Gallery is pleased to present Nicolas Carone: Late AbEx Paintings featuring a selection of acrylic paintings rendered in shades of black, white and gray which were all created in the last decade of his life. Carone was one of the last surviving Abstract Expressionist painters known for his figurative style based on abstract principles. The figure acts as the foundation that shapes his lyrical brushstrokes, layered drips and delicate washes. His later works successfully integrate the classical figurative tradition of his early training with the spontaneous and instinctual painting process of his AbEx contemporaries and friends such as Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Conrad Marca-Relli.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a renewed interest in Carone and his work. In addition to his appearance in a variety of group exhibitions, in 2003 Carone had a solo show at the Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio and a number of gallery exhibitions which were positively reviewed by critics: "Mr. Carone's mixture of de Kooning, Old Master, and Greco Roman inspired works made up of nearly abstract figures [is] rich and absorbing rhythmic tumble of classicism, eroticism, and ambiguity," Lance Esplund wrote for the New York Sun (November 17, 2005). An upcoming exhibition in New York City will revisit his early works.
Nicholas Carone (b.1917 – d. 2010) was born in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. He studied at both the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League, and was awarded the Prix de Rome for paintings in 1941. After several years of military service, Carone and his family moved to Rome, where in 1949 he would have his first solo exhibition. In Rome he became familiar with important Italian artists from the postwar period and befriended the Chilean painter Roberto Matta who would be a lifelong friend and a key influence on his work. In 1951, Carone moved back to New York and was included in the ground-breaking Ninth Street Show, and subsequently exhibited work in Stable Gallery’s Annuals in 1953 and 1957 and in solo shows in 1954 and 1956. In 1964 he joined the founding faculty of the New York Studio School, where he taught drawing for nearly 25 years. He also taught at Columbia University, Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. In the 1970s he bought a house in Doglio, a town in Umbrian region of Italy, and in 1988 he founded an art school there, which he ran for 10 years. Carone’s work has been exhibited at a number of important institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Tate Modern, London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, Corcoran Gallery of Fine Arts, Washington, DC and P.S.1. Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York.