Minna Citron: The Uncharted Course from Realism to Abstraction is a retrospective exhibition that features work by award-winning American painter and printmaker Minna Citron (1896–1991). Citron’s New York-based career was long and distinguished, with numerous exhibitions worldwide and her works represented in the permanent collections of major museums in the United States and abroad. Citron was an artist at the forefront of major artistic movements of the 20th century, as well as directly connected to the central figures of those movements, and she was a well-known figure in the New York art world.
Citron was interested from a feminist perspective in her dual roles as wife/mother and professional artist. Her early work in the 1930s is edgy and radical — often satirical critiques of contemporary society. Citron challenged the roles of women in the 1930s, a period in which representations of women in art had become more conservative than the images of sexually liberated “modern” women of the 1920s.
In the 1940s, Citron became part of the first generation of New York Abstract Expressionists. Her longstanding interest in psychoanalysis and Freudian theory burgeoned during this time, as she worked in Stanley William Hayter’s famed Atelier 17 alongside well-known European exiles including Marc Chagall and younger Americans like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, among others. Exploring the use of accident and chance and the role of the unconscious, Citron brought her feminist consciousness to an approach more often associated with male artists.
As her career progressed, Citron continued to draw on psychoanalysis and the unconscious as sources of inspiration in her abstract art. In the 1960s and 1970s she turned to collages and mixed-media constructions, and then back again to painting during her last decade.
Designed to shed light upon a historically important 20th century American artist who is recently being rediscovered, the exhibition showcases about 50 paintings, prints, drawings and mixed media constructions created during the course of the artist’s more than 60-year career.
This exhibition is organized by Juniata College, Pennsylvania with assistance from Christiane Citron.