This exhibition surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South.
George Dunbar: A Retrospective surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South. A New Orleans native, Dunbar studied in Philadelphia and Paris before returning to Louisiana in the 1950s to create paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and prints that marry the stark geometry of modern art with the lush, organic materials that evoke the state’s many swamps and bayous.
Dunbar’s richly textured works explore abstract art’s connection to landscape and place. George Dunbar: A Retrospective examines the evolution of Dunbar’s art from the 1950s, when he participated in a joint exhibition in Philadelphia with American abstract painter Franz Kline, to his most recent body of work in clay relief. The exhibition examines how Dunbar’s observations—as a bridge-builder, landscape architect, and urban planner—inform his unique approach to abstract art, and underscores Louisiana’s role within a more expansive story of 20th-century American art.
George Dunbar: A Retrospective also considers the rise of abstract art in New Orleans, featuring Louisiana modern artists who Dunbar influenced and inspired as well as works by internationally acclaimed American artists like Franz Kline and Mark Rothko, with whom Dunbar worked and studied. The exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition publication created in collaboration with George Dunbar, containing an in-depth interview with the artist and an essay that contextualizes his work within the history of 20th-century American art. NOMA also will create and present a documentary highlighting Dunbar’s body of work, creative influence, and artistic legacy.