Stimulating Rhythms: Rolph Scarlett – Paintings and Jewelry

Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984) Floating Forms, circa 1960 oil on canvas 41 ¾ x 49 ⅞ in.

Debra Force fine art is pleased to present Uplifting Rhythms: Rolph Scarlett—Paintings and Jewelry from October 7 to November 12. The exhibition features oil paintings, works on paper and jewelry by the artist from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The paintings and works on paper focus primarily on the artist’s geometric abstractions executed from the 1930s to the 1960s. It was these works that caught the attention of Hilla Rebay, director of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting ( now the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) in 1936, who befriended the young artist and championed his talent. The examples included in the show are composed of vibrant, dynamic colors arranged in a seamless, kaleidoscopic format with shapes often overlapping in semi-transparent folds, creating an illusion of depth. A sense of movement presides over several of his works with an increased effect of depth and vastness in the paintings made after 1940.

Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984) Pendant II, circa 1960 – 1970 silver, gold and semi-precious stones 5 ¾ x 4 inches

Scarlett’s early training in jewelry design came from the family business in Ontario, Canada. Industrial and jewelry design were integral parts of his artistic practice throughout his career, and he turned to the latter wholeheartedly in 1961. Creating jewelry in the American modernist tradition espoused by Alexander Calder, Ibram Lassaw and Harry Bertoia, among others, Scarlett worked primarily with silver and agates. His pieces were constructed freely without sketches as they evolved in his mind, and each was a unique sculptural entity.

Most of the 40 works in this exhibition were acquired directly from the artist by a private collector in Massachusetts; this is the first time they have been shown publicly. Please contact the gallery for a copy of the exhibit checklist and accompanying brochure.


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