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Emily Mason (1932 - 2019) - Artists - MILES McENERY GALLERY

Emily Mason Studio, 2016, New York, NY.
© 2023 Emily Mason | Alice Trumbull Mason Foundation/ARS.

“When I start a picture I like to use the medium as directly as I can . . . [this] puts me in a state of mind which avoids pictorial constraints. I try to use paint for its brilliance, transparency, opacity, liquidity, weight, warmth and coolness. These qualities guide me in a process which will determine the climate of the picture. All the while I work to define spatial relationships, resulting in certain kinds of places. I cannot name them but know intuitively when they appear.”  

— EMILY MASON (1932-2019) 

Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason’s art education began in the studio with her mother Alice Trumbull Mason, a founding member of the American Abstract Artists. A graduate of New York City’s High School of Music and Art, she attended Bennington College and The Cooper Union. In 1956, she was awarded a two-year Fulbright Grant to paint in Venice, Italy.  There, she studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti where she first experimented with blotting and transferring paint onto the surface of the canvas. In 1957, at the Ponte de Rialto, Mason married painter Wolf Kahn (1927-2020), with whom she had two daughters.

Since she emerged on the Tenth Street gallery scene in 1960 with Area Gallery, Mason has exhibited regularly in New York City. In 1979 she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy of Design. For over 30 years, Mason taught painting at Hunter College. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections. 

In 2006, George Braziller published Emily Mason: The Fifth Element, a comprehensive treatment of her work by David Ebony and Robert Berlind. In 2015, University Press of New England released her second monograph, Emily Mason: The Light in Spring, featuring prints and paintings since 2005, edited by Ani Boyajian with text by David Ebony and Christina Weyl.

Mason passed away on 10 December 2019, the birthdate of her namesake, Emily Dickinson.


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