University of Illinois at Chicago
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Pat Passlof: In Her Own Right

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posted on 2014-06-20, 00:00 authored by Stephanie L. Reynolds
Abstract Expressionism, gestural painting, The New York School; these are some of the names used to describe the artwork produced by a group of New York artists from 1940-1960. Associated with these terms are names like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, and Milton Resnick, among others. However, missing from what have become elaborate, even legendary histories and personas are the many female artists, Pat Passlof in particular who contributed significantly to the progression of Abstract Expressionism during the tumultuous and creatively stimulating postwar era of art making. This paper delves into the life, work, and career trajectory of Pat Passlof whose artistic talent and contribution to the history of Abstract Expressionism was overshadowed by the fame of her male counterparts. Passlof had a unique style of painting that defied the social and political weight of the time through her brilliant use of color, the intent and elegance of her brushstrokes, and her careful attention to the entirety of the picture plane. Although her style began to develop in the 1950-1960’s it would continue to evolve into a more polished, steadfast, and recognizable aesthetic through the end of her career. My intent is to highlight Passlof’s achievements as a painter whose contributions to Abstract Expressionism and postwar painting in general deserve more study and scholarly attention. Also, from a curatorial standpoint, I aim to create awareness of an art historical gap, primarily in museum institutions, that has allowed Passlof’s work to remain mostly unseen.



Archias, Elise


Museum and Exhibition Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Masters

Committee Member

Quinn, Therese Ise, Claudine

Submitted date



  • en

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