A Home for Surrealism offers an in-depth exploration of a select group of painters who planted domestic roots for the surrealist idiom in the 1940s and 1950s. Working in and around Chicago, Gertrude Abercrombie, Dorothea Tanning, John Wilde, Julia Thecla, Harold Noecker, and Julio de Diego interpreted the European movement as something at once more personal and more accessible to its audience.
Thematizing the interior while also reconceptualizing ideas of imagination and fantasy, these artists offer tableaus that emphasize the narrative capacities of self and home. While Chicago has long been acknowledged as an important center for the exhibition and collection of European surrealist painting, its own practitioners deserve more widespread recognition. Through their distinct motifs and styles, these artists made surrealism into something that was local to Chicago, even as it acknowledged its international foundations. Working with a team of scholars, The Arts Club, which was on the forefront of introducing surrealism in the 1920s and 30s, offers a focused and revelatory snapshot of Chicago surrealism.
Image: Gertrude Abercrombie. Untitled (Lady with a Cat), 1961. Oil on board; 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Private collection, Chicago.
A Home for Surrealism is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, as well as a gift from the Zell Family Foundation. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue distributed by the University of Chicago Press (available June 2018), including essays by Robert Cozzolino (Minneapolis Institute of Art), Adam Jolles (Florida State University), Janine Mileaf (Arts Club of Chicago), and Joanna Pawlik (University of Sussex) and artists’ biographies by Marin Sarvé-Tarr (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Click here to purchase a copy.
A Home for Surrealism is proudly part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
About Art Design Chicago
Art Design Chicago is a spirited celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of creativity and commerce. Spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this citywide partnership of nearly 60 cultural organizations explores Chicago’s art and design legacy and continued impact with more than 30 exhibitions, hundreds of events, as well as the creation of several scholarly publications and a four-part documentary presented throughout 2018.
The Arts Club of Chicago is located at 201 East Ontario Street, on the southeast corner of St. Clair and Ontario Streets. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday- Friday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Saturday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.