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Stephen Pace

 (1918 - 2010)
Stephen S. Pace was active/lived in New York, Maine, Missouri / Mexico.  Stephen Pace is known for abstract expression and figurative painting.

Stephen Pace

Biography from the Archives of askART

Stephen Pace was born on December 12, 1918 in Deventer, a small town in southeast Missouri near the Mississippi River. When Pace was six, his parents moved to Indiana where they ran a small grocery store. Ten years later they moved to a farm near New Harmony, Indiana.

Stephen Pace's formal education began at the age of seventeen. He studied with Robert Lahr, an accomplished artist living in Evansville who helped Pace achieve a high degree of mastery in drawing and watercolor. With the onslaught of World War II, Pace was called into service. Stationed in England, he painted watercolors of local scenes in his free time. After the war in 1945, Pace returned to Indiana and his studies with Lahr. But at the age of 27, he decided to go to Mexico on the G.I. Bill and enrolled in the Institute of Fine Arts in San Miguel Allende. Then, on his way back from Mexico after a year of study, Steve Pace paused in a New Orleans bus station. "I knew if I went back to the Midwest they'd put me to work on the farm, so I flipped a coin, heads, New York, tails, San Francisco." It came up heads and so it happened that Pace went to New York where he studied at the Art Students League in 1948-49. From New York he traveled to Florence in 1950, and at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in 1951.

But Pace's destiny was in New York. He returned and was drawn into the heady atmosphere of New York in the late forties and early fifties, the orbit of Abstract Expressionism, and the Hofmann School. Hans Hofmann's precepts crop up repeatedly in Pace's work. The importance of the space outside the rectangle, the need for drawing from life because "painting has to come from somewhere," the dynamic of the push and pull, the structuring with color and the spatial tensions set up between the jostling areas of bright primary colors.

During the 1950s Pace was immersed in the world of the New York School, showing at most of the Whitney annuals and at the artist-run invitations at the Stable Galley. He frequented local artist's taverns and became good friends with leading Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline. Pace and other younger abstract expressionists, most of whom were World War II veterans, knew little about the Surrealist phase of Abstract Expressionism with its emphasis on the search for myth and veiling the subjects.

Karlie Corporation

Stephen Pace was born on December 12, 1918 in Deventer, a small town in Missouri near the Mississippi River. When he was six, his parents moved to Indiana where they ran a small grocery store. When he was sixteen they moved to a farm near New Harmony, Indiana. The next year he began studying with Robert Lahr in Evansville, Indiana. When World War II broke out he was stationed in England; he painted watercolors of local scenes in his free time. He returned to Indiana and at the age of twenty-seven he enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts in San Miguel Allende. After that he studied in New York City at the Art Students League in 1948 and 1949. He traveled to Florence, Italy in 1950 and studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in 1951.

Back in New York, Pace was drawn into the heady atmosphere of Abstract Expressionism and the Hans Hofmann School. He became close friends with Franz Kline.

From the Internet

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, Californi

Biography from Spanierman Gallery (retired)
Artist Stephen Pace enjoyed a long and productive career, during which he made an important contribution to the tradition of Abstract Expressionism. Born in Charleston, Missouri, he grew up in Indiana, where his parents operated a grocery store and then a farm. Pace began drawing as a young boy and at the age of seventeen initiated his formal art training by studying drawing and watercolor methods with the W.P.A. artist Robert Lahr. During World War II, he served in England and France, honing his skills by painting views of local scenery. While in Paris, Stephen Pace met the collector Gertrude Stein and on several occasions visited her home on the rue de Fleurus.

Returning to the United States, Stephen Pace enrolled at the Institute of Fine Art in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, with funding provided by the G.I. Bill. After a year south of the border--during which time met and befriended the painter Milton Avery--he decided to go to New York, where he received instruction from Cameron Booth and Morris Kantor at the Art Students League (1948-49). Through Avery, Stephen Pace also came into contact with painters such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

After a trip to Florence in 1950 and a period of study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in 1951, Pace resumed his studies in New York, attending classes at Hans Hofmann's school. Hofmann's teachings--especially his practice of creating volume through dynamic planes of color-- helped inspire the direct and vigorous Abstract Expressionist style Stephen Pace employed during the 1950s, as is apparent in works such as Untitled (58-26), with its jagged forms and pulsating energy.

During this period, Pace participated in group artist shows at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum. He also had solo exhibitions at the Artists Gallery, the Poindexter Gallery, and the Howard Wise Gallery in New York and at venues in Provincetown, San Francisco, Chicago, and elsewhere. By 1961, his reputation was such that the critic, Thomas B. Hess, deemed him a "brilliant member of the second generation of New York School painters that burst on the scene, in the early 1950s, fully made, as if from the forehead of the Statue of Liberty" (quoted in Martica Sawin, Stephen Pace, 2004).

After 1960, Stephen Pace embraced his rural roots, spending time in Pennsylvania and then Maine, a region that allowed him to reconnect with nature. Dividing his time between studios in New York City and Stonington, Maine, he returned to figural art, working in a style characterized by simplified shapes and a liberal use of color while exploring subjects ranging from Maine lobstermen to landscapes and nudes.

Stephen Pace taught at a number of institutions, including the Pratt Institute, Washington University, Bard College, the American University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Examples of his work have been acquired by the country's foremost public and corporate collections, including A. T. & T., Chicago; the Bristol-Myers Collection, Princeton, New Jersey; the Curie Institute, Paris; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Biography from ACME Fine Art
Art Students League
Hans Hofmann School

Selected Exhibitions:
Washington University, St. Louis, 1959 (solo)
Brandeis University, 1961 (solo)
University of California, Berkeley, 1968 (solo)
University of Texas, Austin, 1970 (solo)
Kansas City Art Institute, 1973 (solo)
Bard College, 1975 (solo)
Drew University, 1975 (solo)
American University, D.C., 1976 (solo)
Evansville Museum of Arts & Science, Indiana, 1992 (solo)
Bates College Museum of Art, 1994 (solo)
Union College, Schenectady, 1999 (solo)

Selected Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Museum of Fine Art, Boston
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, D.C.
National Museum of American Art, D.C.
Philips Collection, D.C.
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
Provincetown Art Museum, Massachusetts
The Chrysler Museum, Connecticut
University Art Museum, Berkeley
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Maine
Oberlin College, Ohio
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
American University, D.C.
Brown University, Providence
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio
Union College, Schenectady
Rutgers University, New Jersey
Colby College, Maine
New Orleans Museum of Art
National Academy of Design, New York
Curie Institute, Paris

Biography from Courthouse Galleries, Portsmouth Museums
Stephen Pace (1918 - 2010)

All of us at Courthouse Gallery are saddened by the loss of artist Stephen Pace, who died Thursday, September 23, 2010.  He was 91.  Pace joined the gallery in 2007, the year he and his wife, Pam, left Maine and New York for his childhood home of Indiana.  Before their departure, the gallery hosted a solo exhibition of his work as a tribute to his last summer in Maine.

Pace gave Maine an indelible legacy.  His gestural brushwork and bright canvases captured Maine's spirit whether he depicted lobstermen, the working waterfronts, blueberries and sunflowers, or the coastal landscape that he and Pam treasured.  Maine was their favorite place, and it was always close to their hearts these past few years.

All those who knew Stephen will miss him, especially the Stonington community where he and Pam summered for forty years.  Stephen was blessed with a devoted wife and partner, a great artistic talent, and with people who loved and cared for him wherever he went. We have been moved by his friendship and his faith in our gallery. It has been a pleasure to know Stephen and an absolute honor to work with him.

-Karin and Michael Wilkes

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About  Stephen Pace

Born:  1918 - Deventer, Missouri
Died:   2010
Known for:  abstract expression and figurative painting

Essays referring to
Stephen Pace

Abstract Expressionism