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Exhibition: Henry Botkin Watercolors from February 16, 2024 to March 30, 2024 at Childs Gallery, Boston

Henry Botkin Watercolors

Press Release:

Best known for his work in and promotion of Abstract Expressionism, Boston-born artist Henry Botkin was also a prolific watercolorist during the earlier stages of his productive, decades-long career. After spending seven years immersed in the Parisian art scene (a sojourn partly supported by his cousins George and Ira Gershwin), Botkin returned to the United States heavily influenced by the impressionistic flourishes of European Modernism. Henry Botkin Watercolors presents works from this post-European period of the mid-1930s and early 1940s, where the artist explored a variety of genres including landscapes, harbor scenes, and still lifes, through a Modernist lens.     

Botkin began his early career in his hometown of Boston, studying at the Massachusetts College of Art, before continuing his education at the Art Students League of New York. In his eight years in New York, he also worked as an illustrator for Harper's, The Saturday Evening Post, and Century magazines. In the early 1920s, Botkin moved to Paris; he was fortunate to have a close relationship with his first cousins, the famous composers and lyricists George and Ira Gershwin, whose backing during this time allowed him to devote himself exclusively to art. Upon his return many years later, Botkin based himself out of New York, but traveled often (including a notable trek to Folly Island, South Carolina with George Gershwin where Porgy and Bess was composed). During these trips, Botkin documented his surroundings in the free-flowing brushstrokes of watercolor, capturing scenes across the country with the strong echoes of French art learned during his time in Paris.

Starting in the 1940s, Botkin would shift his style towards figurative abstraction, before completely abandoning representational imagery in favor of purely abstract art. This exhibition thus illuminates a little shown period of Botkin's while also highlighting a lesser explored, but thoroughly engaging media for an artist most often associated with painting and collage.

Henry Botkin Watercolors is on view in our upstairs gallery February 16 through March 30, 2024. 

On exhibit until March 30th, 2024
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