Shirley Jaffe in United State of Abstraction (Group Show): Musée d'Art de Nantes, France

19 April - 18 July 2021

 The exhibition 'United States of Abstraction. American Artists' in France, 1946-1964 explores the intense presence of American artists and how they helped redefine abstract art in France at a time when the global geography of art was being shaken up.

After the Second World War, the spotlight turned to New York, at the expense of Paris, which lost its status as the world's art capital. The story of Abstract Expressionism, the New York schools, and its heroes, Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning among others, thus became the dominant narrative of art in 1945.

However, many American artists, musicians and writers, men and women, came to study and create in France. Between 1946 and 1953, many of them benefited from the G.I. Bill, a grant that allowed veterans to finance their studies by enrolling in Parisian art schools and academies.

More than 400 artists found themselves galvanized by the cultural appeal of Paris, its museums and its masters, the appeal of Europe, the possibility of creating without any real constraint thanks to the grant, the search for greater freedom, the desire to be elsewhere, to be in Paris as on an island.