Alice Trumbull Mason: Pioneer of American Abstraction

The first comprehensive publication exploring the life and art of pioneering American abstract artist Alice Trumbull Mason is perfect for audiences eager to discover unsung yet brilliantly talented women artists.

A groundbreaking artist, Alice Trumbull Mason (1904-1971) was one of the earliest painters of the twentieth century to embrace abstract painting in America. Mason's early paintings have been compared to those of Gorky, Kandinsky, and Miró, and in 1936 she became a founding member of the American Abstract Artists (AAA) and one of its leaders in the promotion of abstract work by artists such as Josef Albers, Ad Reinhardt, Piet Mondrian, and many others. Mason was a true artist's artist whose efforts helped lead to the great movements of later twentieth-century art, such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Post-Modernism, and Conceptual Art.

Alice Trumbull Mason features essays that illuminate and contextualize the artist's multifaceted work and personal life through her paintings, prints, poetry, and letters. The book reveals the full life story of a seminal abstractionist, making a sound argument for adding her to the annals of great twentieth-century artists.

About The Author

Elisa Wouk Almino is senior editor of Hyperallergic. Marilyn Brown is professor emerita of art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Tulane University. Meghan Forbes is a postdoctoral fellow in the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Will Heinrich writes about art for The New Yorker and the New York Times. Thomas Micchelli is an artist, writer, and coeditor of Hyperallergic Weekend. Christina Weyl is an art historian and curator with a focus on midcentury American printmaking and women artists.

  • Publish Date: May 26, 2020
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Art - Individual Artists - Monographs
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 9 x 11-5/8
  • Pages: 256
  • US Price: $65.00
  • CDN Price: $85.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6699-1


"This new monograph of [Alice Trumbull Mason’s] life and work is an excellent addition to recent scholarship that has centered women artists who previously occupied the margins of the artistic canon." —WOMEN'S ART JOURNAL

"The first monograph of a painter’s painter brings a jolt of new insight and a confident show of her works’ mindfulness and beauty. Alice Trumbull Mason: Pioneer of American Abstraction is, astoundingly, the first monograph on Mason — nearly a half-century after her death. Its 160 full-page color reproductions represent about three-fourths of her work. . . . The book fulfills a longtime goal of the artist’s daughter, Emily Mason, a New York abstract painter who worked closely with Rizzoli on it but died in December before its completion. Its numerous reproductions suggest a pent-up frustration, a determination to make up for lost time. The daughter clearly intended to eliminate doubt about her mother’s achievement, and to pay tribute, she wrote, to “the perseverance of her inner core.” Mission accomplished. With essays on the artist’s paintings, prints, poetry and letters, this volume gives the fullest chronology yet of Mason’s life and work, and reveals tantalizing possibilities for future research. . . . Mason’s work is not something you absorb in a flash. Its integrity, “mindfulness” and assured beauty emerge slowly, in careful compositions, color choices, delicate but tactile brushwork, and inevitable balance." —NEW YORK TIMES