Robert Preusser (1919-1992)
Oil on Masonite
20 x 16 inches
Signed and dated lower right, titled and dated verso
Nucleus is one of Preusser’s earliest paintings and displays the abstraction he would later become famous for. Preusser created this painting at the age of eighteen while studying under artist Ola McNeill Davidson. Davidson was known for introducing a group of Houston avant-garde painters to European modernism. These painters would later form the beginning of the modernist movement in Houston, Texas. At a time when many Texas painters focused on representational art and Texas Regionalism, Preusser radically turned to abstraction at a young age inspired by the avant-garde art movement in Europe.
This innovative style would lead him to be a part of the 1946-47 Contemporary American Annuals exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art along with many notable contemporary artists such as Salvador Dali, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. In this exhibition, Preusser exhibited a painting strikingly similar to this early work (see image below). This unique painting style as well as his inclusion in this Whitney exhibition would lead to his rise in fame as an avant-garde artist during the 1940s.
Germination (1946) by Robert Preusser.
Exhibited at the 1946-47 Contemporary American Annuals at the Whitney Museum of American Art.