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Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the May 15, 1957, Members' Opening of Contemporary Art: Acquisitions 1954–1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

Throwback Thursday: Artists at the Opening of Contemporary Art: Acquisitions 1954–1957

May 11, 2017

Contemporary Art: Acquisitions 1954–1957 was the first in a series of exhibitions and publications in the 1950s and 1960s to display and document the influx of new works to the museum's collection through the stewardship of Director Gordon M. Smith and patron Seymour H. Knox, Jr.

Both the exhibition and its corresponding publication were divided into three sections: Gifts of Seymour H. Knox, Gallery Purchases of Contemporary Sculpture, and Loans from Mr. and Mrs. Seymour H. Knox.

Several featured artists traveled to the exhibition's opening on May 15, 1957, and were photographed in front of their works (as seen below): Jimmy Ernst with The Chant, 1955; Philip Guston with Voyage, 1956; Franz Kline with New York, N.Y.,  1953; Robert Motherwell with Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXIV, 1953–54; and Mark Rothko with Orange and Yellow, 1956. These five artists also appear shoulder-to-shoulder in a group shot with Seymour H. Knox, Jr., in front of Arshile Gorky's The Liver Is the Cock's Comb, 1944 (above).

Jimmy Ernst with The Chant, 1955, at the Albright Art Gallery, May 15, 1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

Philip Guston with Voyage, 1956, at the Albright Art Gallery, May 15, 1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

Franz Kline with New York, N.Y., 1953, at the Albright Art Gallery, May 15, 1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

Robert Motherwell with Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXIV, 1953–54, at the Albright Art Gallery, May 15, 1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

Mark Rothko with Orange and Yellow, 1956, at the Albright Art Gallery, May 15, 1957. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. Photograph by The Towne Studio, Buffalo, New York.

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