Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

This book has been nearly a decade in the making, and with any such project, there are many people to thank and so few words that might adequately convey my gratitude. I must first express my appreciation to Linda Dalrymple Henderson, who introduced me to Irene Rice Pereira's work and provided much guidance and encouragement through the work's incarnation as my dissertation. I am grateful, too, to the other...

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xviii

During the decades following the solar eclipse of 1919, which "proved" Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, theoretical cosmology flourished. Theories of an everchanging, evolving, and expanding universe were proposed during the 1920s by a Russian meteorologist-mathematician, Alexander Friedmann, and a Belgian cleric, Abbe Georges Lemaitre...

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1. Background, Training, and Early Philosophical Readings

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pp. 1-27

Despite the fact that four decades have passed since its writing, the standard biography on Irene Rice Pereira (Figure i) remains John I. H. Baur's brief essay in the catalogue accompanying her retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in January 1953, eighteen years before her death.1 The scattered articles written about her in more...

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2. Exploring the Relationship between Artist and Society

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pp. 28-61

Irene Pereira's 1934 endorsement of the "machine age" aesthetic suggests that, at the time, she regarded technology as a benign force transforming civilization. Fascinated by the machine and attempting to capitalize on its popularity among American modernists, she embraced the subject and made it the central focus of her work between 1932 and 1938, although she also produced Cubist still lifes, Dufylike landscapes...

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3. The Design Laboratory and Pereira's Introduction to Bauhaus Theories

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pp. 62-94

Irene Rice Pereira's association with the Design Laboratory of the WPA/FAP, beginning in 1936, was critical to both her professional development and reputation. To this point she had been successful in getting her work into exhibitions, but she had yet to find a style of painting that sustained her interest. She abandoned her Dufylike cityscapes in 1935, and her more naturalistic figural subjects, the most successful of which...

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4. The "Glass Age" and Pereia's First Paintings on Glass

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pp. 95-118

Prior to 1936, Pereira had worked only with traditional painting media, yet a clue to her early interest in modern materials is found in a clipping from the New York Times dated January 22,1933, preserved in her scrapbook. Here, she underlined the passage immediately following the review of her first one-artist show: To advance from the machine as portrayed in these [Pereira^s] abstractions to the machine age in actuality one need only go down to the Art Centre, where...

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5. Pereira's Study of Perception: Hildebrand, Worringer, Hinton, and Giedion

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pp. 119-137

As much as Pereira's work and oudook during the late 1930s and early 1940s were dependent upon Bauhaus philosophy and the related interests of architects and designers, contemporary theories of perception and psychology played equally important roles in her thinking. Her interest in the unconscious at the time of her first abstractions is documented in her writings for the Design Laboratory. Her general interest...

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6. The Impact of jung, Alchemy, and Tales of Transformation on Pereira's Abstract Symbolism

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pp. 138-177

The first dated evidence of Pereira's interest in the unconscious is found in her terminology list compiled at the Design Laboratory in April 1937, not only in her definition for "intuitional" abstraction, discussed earlier, but also in her definition of symbolism: "Interpretation of objects, qualities, by means of Rhythms, sentiments, emotions, colors or personal qualities manifested from subconscious [later changed...

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7. Reconciling the Inner-Outer Duality: Pereira's Philosophy of Space, Time, and Light

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pp. 178-214

Since her years at the Design Laboratory and her experiments with various textures for their reflective and refractive qualities, Pereira had maintained an interest in light and its properties. Following Moholy-Nagy's lead, she had worked with "light painting" in her photograms and relief paintings on glass. In her multiplanar glass paintings, light jumped...

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8. Pereira versus Abstract Expressionism

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pp. 215-228

Following Pereira's retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1953, the trajectory of her career took a sharp downward turn. Why this happened demands some answer, although the issue is multilayered and involves not only stylistic changes in the artist's work but also critical support of Abstract Expressionism, the impact of...

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Conclusion

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pp. 229-232

The last remark made by Pereira appearing in print before her death was one recorded by journalist Leah Gordon in her review of the Whitney Museum's exhibition Women Artists in the Museum Collection for the New York Times. According to Gordon, the artist said, "I never encountered any prejudice. My work stood on its own. Whatever trouble I had came from other women."1 Unfortunate as it is...

Appendix 1: Chronology

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pp. 233-239

Appendix 2: Exhibitions

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pp. 240-250

Notes

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pp. 251-300

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 301-316

Index

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pp. 317-324