ALICE LAWRENCE: A COMMITMENT TO THE MODERN AGE
Alice Lawrence assembled an extraordinary collection of 20th-century art and design with discretion and discernment, but without great fanfare.
With her quiet, deliberate and supremely private approach, Alice Lawrence preferred to let the objects--whether paintings, sculpture or design, and the environment in which she placed them--speak for themselves. Her Collection is noteworthy for both its cohesiveness as a remarkable grouping of 20th-century art of the Modern Age, but also for its expansiveness across media and national schools.
The collection of Alice Lawrence reflects the major movements of the 20th century in both Europe and America at their best: bold works of cubism, sophisticated examples of surrealism, lyrical compositions from the Stieglitz Circle, and majestic canvases of Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field painting. These great works are complemented by a selection of decorative arts from both sides of the Atlantic: lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany and elegant design by Ruhlmann, Dunand and Chareau.
As a great patron and collector of 20th-century art and design, Alice Lawrence was equally committed to installing the collection within an extraordinary 20th-century setting, designed for her by Rafael Vinoly. Perched on a hilltop in the Connecticut countryside, the monumental structure was both part of Alice Lawrence's collection and a means of showcasing the great works of art sheltered within. Commenting on the house and the collection, Alice Lawrence said, 'I love this space because I can breathe. The outside comes insideI enjoy this house because it's me.' This highly personal and private vision resonates throughout the collection in each painting, sculpture and work of great 20th-century design.
The aesthetic dynamic established between the works of art and design and the expanses of stone, steel and glass reflects a consummate commitment to the creative forces of the 20th century and the Modern Age. The soaring, expansive spaces within the house evoke flight and weightlessness. These qualities are echoed in the ethereal veils of color in Morris Louis's lyrical canvas Untitled. The house's elemental materials bring to mind an industrial aesthetic, referenced in Arthur Dove's 1931 composition, Cinder Barge and Derrick and in Fernand Leger's 1928 canvas Les danseuses aux clés.
Alice Lawrence's private vision reflects a commitment to the Modern Age that transcends media and national school. The collection includes works by European and American artists of the 20th century, including a particularly distinguished group of early American Modern paintings. Likewise, the collection features works of modern design by both American and European masters, such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Edgar Brandt and Jean Dunand. Arranged in the Rafael Vinoly's expansive interior spaces, these extraordinary works exemplify the best of the Modern Age and reflect Alice Lawrence's supremely private vision.