New York, b.1932

Emily Mason

Emily Mason has spent more than six decades exploring her distinctive vein of lyrical, luminous abstraction. Her paintings executed in oil are distinguished by a sense of intriguing intimacy combined with uncompromising, though gentle, intensity. They evince a sense of structure within open, luminous space and juxtapose robust color harmonies with vivid contrasts that create an engaging optical vibration. Robert Berlind said of her in Art in America, “Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.”

Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art. She studied at Bennington College for two years before attending and graduating from the Cooper Union. She spent 1956-58 in Italy on a Fulbright grant for painting,...

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Biography

Emily Mason has spent more than six decades exploring her distinctive vein of lyrical, luminous abstraction. Her paintings executed in oil are distinguished by a sense of intriguing intimacy combined with uncompromising, though gentle, intensity. They evince a sense of structure within open, luminous space and juxtapose robust color harmonies with vivid contrasts that create an engaging optical vibration. Robert Berlind said of her in Art in America, “Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.”

Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art. She studied at Bennington College for two years before attending and graduating from the Cooper Union. She spent 1956-58 in Italy on a Fulbright grant for painting, where she studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice.

During Mason’s two-year stay in Italy she married the painter Wolf Kahn, whom she had met earlier in New York. Mason and Kahn’s daughter, Cecily Kahn, is also an abstract painter, as was Emily Mason’s mother, Alice Trumbull Mason, a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group in New York.

Mason has exhibited steadily since she emerged on the Tenth Street gallery scene with multiple exhibitions at the Area Gallery in New York City in the 1960s. In 1979 she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy. She taught painting at Hunter College for more than thirty years. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections.

Emily Mason: The Fifth Element, a comprehensive treatment of her work by Art in America associate managing editor David Ebony, was published in 2006 by George Braziller publishers. A second monograph, Emily Mason: The Light in Spring, was published in 2015 by University Press of New England. 

Artworks

24

The Wind Doth Blow, 2018

RELATED CATEGORIES

Abstract Expressionism / Abstract Painting / Abstraction / Color / Lyrical Color / Lyrical Expression / New York / Oil on Canvas / Oil Painting / Painting / Rhythmical Expression / Vivid Color

CURRICULUM VITAE

Chronology

  • 2019

    Mason has her second exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York.

  • 2016

    Mason begins exhibiting at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe in New York.

  • 2008

    Contemplating Color, a traveling exhibition of Mason’s paintings organized by LewAllen Galleries, is shown at LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe and at The Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.

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Curriculum Vitae

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Chronology

  • 2019

    Mason has her second exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York.

  • 2016

    Mason begins exhibiting at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe in New York.

  • 2008

    Contemplating Color, a traveling exhibition of Mason’s paintings organized by LewAllen Galleries, is shown at LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe and at The Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.

  • 2005

    A solo exhibition of Mason’s prints opens at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Vermont.

  • A solo exhibition of Mason’s paintings opens at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine.

  • 2004

    A solo exhibition of Mason’s paintings opens at the LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she continues to show up through the present. An exhibition of Mason’s prints opens at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy.

  • 2001

    Mason begins exhibiting at David Findlay Jr Gallery, New York, where she shows regularly through 2015.