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1937 John Ferren Born: Pendleton, Oregon 1905 Died: Southampton, New York 1970 carved, engraved, and hand-painted plaster in wood frame 18 x 22 in. (45.7 x 55.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost © 1937 John Ferren 1986.92.23 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 44B

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An abstract expressionist work from 1937, Untitled reflects an artistic approach John Ferren developed while working at Stanley William Hayter's influential Atelier 17 studio in Paris. Hayter introduced Ferren to a nineteenth-century printing technique in which an etched and inked plate is imprinted in wet plaster. The plaster is then carved and painted, using the etched lines as a guide. Pierre Matisse, son of the French painter Henri Matisse, showed several of these plasters in a 1936 exhibition of Ferren's work at Matisse's New York gallery and gave the young artist a contract to do more. (Mecklenburg, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Collection, American Abstraction, 1930-1945, 1989)