Agnes Pelton


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Painter. Inspired particularly by Kandinsky's example and the teachings of Theosophy, she developed a personal and romantic form of nonrepresentational painting often featuring suggestions of landscape or other natural forms. Characteristically suffused with a glowing light, the space within her paintings hosts hard-edge, often levitating abstract and symbolic elements. Born to American parents in Stuttgart, Pelton spent her early childhood in Germany. From 1890 she lived in Brooklyn, where she studied for five years at the Pratt Institute. She continued her study with Arthur Wesley Dow through the summer of 1900. In 1910 she departed for a year in Italy. Although she exhibited in the Armory Show and pursued avant-garde ideas, her work remained rooted in representation until after she moved from New York to rural Long Island in 1921. Later, she sometimes painted realistic landscapes, which she sold in order to underwrite the more adventurous work that began to take shape in the mid-1920s. In 1931 she settled permanently in Cathedral City, California, near Palm Springs. Here, in relative seclusion, she often drew on her experience of the desert and its vast, empty spaces to create glowing, meditative images. In 1938 she joined with several other painters, notably Raymond Jonson, to form the short-lived Transcendental Painting Group.

Subjects: Art.

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