Pin It

Parting Shot: Juanita Guccione 

click to enlarge Europa, Juanita Guccione, oil on canvas, 28.25” x 34”, 1939.
  • Europa, Juanita Guccione, oil on canvas, 28.25” x 34”, 1939.

Nearly 80 years ago, the Brooklyn Museum displayed the works of several up-and-coming artists. Among the not-yet-household names featured were Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, who would go on to earn fame and recognition far beyond the art world for their development of the abstract expressionist style. They weren't the only artists there, though. Juanita Guccione was born in 1904, and despite decades of work that produced nearly 700 pieces of art that would be displayed around the world and earn significant praise, she is virtually unknown today. Her work sits in her son's basement, a far cry from the galleries of Manhattan, Paris, Beirut, Bombay, and San Francisco.

She spent her childhood in Massachusetts and later Brooklyn. After studying at the Art Students League, she left the country, eventually settling in an artists' colony in Algeria, called Bou Saada, amongst the Ouled Nail tribe. Her paintings from this period are devoid of the flamboyant romanticism of the Orientalist painters. She painted the Bedouin as friends and neighbors, reflecting her anticolonialist beliefs. Years later, Algeria acquired a large number of these paintings for display in the National Museum of Fine Arts, a reassuring sign that her legacy is not totally forgotten.

While it might be tempting to suggest her relative obscurity may come down to talent, Guccione's work was respectfully received in her lifetime, the respected French critic Michel-Georges Michel, for example, wrote in the early 1950s that she was one of a very few American artists who interested him. Cubist, realist, automatist, and abstract strains can all be found in her work. By 1970, she was painting electrifying works in watercolor and acrylic that critics consider impossible to categorize. For most of her career she was considered a Surrealist, often producing brilliantly colored paintings depicting a whimsical world ruled by women. In her later work, however, she abandoned the human figure and juxtaposition of the observed world all together, fully embracing an independence hinted at earlier in her career.

The Seligmann Center in Sugar Loaf will be hosting an exhibition of Guccione's work, "Defiant Acts," from September 13 through November 2. Art historian Susan Aberth will present a lecture on September 14 on the work of Guccione and other female artists of the Surrealist movement, who are increasingly being rediscovered after decades in the shadows of their male peers. (845) 469-9459;

Speaking of...


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Carrie On

    • May 1, 2016
  • Field and Dream: Collaborative Concepts at Saunders Farm

    Over 70 artists from the Hudson Valley and beyond have assembled animal-friendly sculptures to complement the surrounding landscapes—grazing cows and horses are imagined to admire the pieces while they dine.
    • Sep 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Some Kind of Joy: The Story of Grimshaw in Twelve Buildings @ EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Some Kind of Joy: The Story of Grimshaw in Twelve Buildings

Mon., March 27, 6 p.m. — Directed by Sam Hobkinson, this revisits key projects from the history of...

Fan of Fiction

Mon., March 27, 6:30 p.m. — Instead of planning to read one book, the library will compile an...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • On The Cover: Gabriel Garcia Roman
  • On The Cover: Gabriel Garcia Roman

    "Visceral Notions" will feature work by Gabriel Garcia Roman through March 26 at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • Andres Serrano Goes Back to School
  • Andres Serrano Goes Back to School

    The Andres Serrano retrospective at The School, the spectacular exhibition space established by Chelsea gallery owner Jack Shainman in Kinderhook, is a rare event.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • Parting Shot: Matthew Pleva
  • Parting Shot: Matthew Pleva

    Kingston-based multimedia artist Matthew Pleva seeks inspiration from everything around him.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by David King

Hudson Valley Tweets