Curator Tour with Piero Tomassoni: Julian Beck. Works on Paper, 1941-1954

Piero Tomassoni walks us through a selection of rare works by Julian Beck, founder of’ ‘The Living Theatre’. Before this show, the paintings had never been exhibited before.


Created with Custorian, Artvisor introduces you to Julian Beck’s works on paper, produced from 1941 – 1954. Born in 1925, Beck attended Yale University before dropping out and moving to New York City to dedicate himself to painting. Beck exhibited at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery in 1945, alongside some of the most prominent Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson PollockRobert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning. That Beck’s style of painting was formed in this environment is evident in his non-representational approach, bold use of colour and expressive line.

Curated by Tomassoni, this is the first solo exhibition of Beck’s paintings in London and highlights his varied and sensitive approach to form and colour through gestural abstraction. While some paintings employ thick graphic lines that provide a compositional architecture, in other pictures the unifying line is reduced to a wisp; overlapping hues denote the depth and nuance of the unconscious. The exhibition eludes any indication of a singular signature style, while maintaining an evident Abstract Expressionist identity.

Beck’s works on paper are evidence of a visual artist deeply engaged with the most prominent artistic minds of his age, who were collectively taking on the heritage of modernism and pushing painting to its structural limits.