Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape

January 20 - March 4, 2018
Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) was a painter based in Chicago who created surreal and dream-like imagery. She developed her own unique style and color palette, and explained the images of her work with “It is always myself that I paint.” The exhibition will include 40 of the artist’s enigmatic paintings of spare interiors and illusionary landscapes—which have been referred to as “psychic self-portraits.”
 
Idiosyncratic, charming and irascible, Gertrude was presciently contemporary. Referred to as “the queen of the bohemian artists,” Abercrombie entertained many jazz musicians at her home at parties on Saturday evenings and jam sessions on Sunday afternoons, including friends Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins.
 
Like the jazz musicians with whom she was friends, she established a repertoire of themes upon which she riffed for decades. Cats, clouds, ostrich eggs, doors, lightning bolts, rocks and sea shells set in airless landscapes and spare interiors became a shorthand with which she chronicled her recurring dreams, fears and obsessions. Her works are spare and syncopated—“off the beam” as Gertrude would say—and always self-consciously performative. 
 
The exhibition includes works from the collections of Laura and Gary Maurer, the Illinois State Museum and Elmhurst College.
 
Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as Landscape was organized by Jenny Gibbs and coordinated at EAM by Lal Bahcecioglu. Following its presentation at EAM, the exhibition will travel to the Illinois State Museum, Springfield IL (March 23 - June 15, 2018). 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE. 
 
 

Related Programs

Friday, January 26, 2018 - 5:00pm

Music at the Museum / Elmhurst College Jazz Trio

Join us for a concert by Elmhurst College Jazz musicians performing jazz songs from the 1940s and 50s, inspired by the exhibition of work by Gertrude Abercrombie. Abercrombie regularly hosted jam sessions with musician friends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins. Includes 2 complimentary glasses of wine with admission (21+).

Free with admission or current membership.

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 1:30pm

Exhibition Tour with Susan Weininger

Join us for an enlightening tour of the Gertrude Abercrombie exhibition led by Susan Weininger, the author of multiple comprehensive essays on the artist. Weininger is professor emerita of art history at Roosevelt University, Chicago, where she was Chair of the Department of History, Art History and Philosophy.

Free with museum admission or current membership.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 1:00pm

Family Day at the Elmhurst Art Museum

We invite you and your family to participate in hands-on art activities inspired by the exhibition Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape.

Free with museum admission or current membership.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 1:30pm

Conversation: Doug Beach and John Corbett

Join us for an insightful conversation with Doug Beach (Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Band and Arranging at Elmhurst College) and John Corbett (writer, producer, curator, and gallery owner), about the intersections of art and jazz during Gertrude Abercrombie's life. In addition to hosting a vibrant jazz salon in her home, Abercrombie became friends with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sonny Rollins. She was also the subject of the song "Gertrude's Bounce" by Richie Powell.

Free with museum admission or current membership.

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 5:00pm

Music at the Museum / Elmhurst College Jazz Trio

Join us for a concert by Elmhurst College Jazz musicians performing jazz songs from the 1940s and 50s, inspired by the exhibition of work by Gertrude Abercrombie. Abercrombie regularly hosted jam sessions with musician friends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins. Includes 2 complimentary glasses of wine with admission (21+).

Free with admission or current membership.

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 1:30pm

Exhibition Tour with Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman, the author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists, will give an exhibition tour focusing on Gertrude Abercrombie’s biography. The painter Abercrombie surrounded herself with fascinating people including jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, held regular jam sessions at her home, and was referred to as "the queen of the bohemian artists." After the tour, Seaman will be available to sign copies of her book.

Free with museum admission or current membership.

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 1:00pm

Family Day at the Elmhurst Art Museum

We invite you and your family to participate in hands-on art activities inspired by the exhibition Gertrude Abercrombie: Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape.

Free with museum admission or current membership.