Architect and artist William Lumpkins (1909-2002) designed more than 2,000 buildings in Santa Fe, founded the Santa Fe Art Institute, and was an important player among the area’s early modernist artists. There’s no doubt this “Renaissance Man” left an enduring mark on the City Different, but one body of work by Lumpkins has yet to reach the public eye. This spring, Matthews Gallery will present never-before-seen prints and drawings from the private collection of a Lumpkins family member in NEW MEXICO MODERNS: The Lumpkins Files, opening April 18 from 5-7 pm and running through April 25.
Lumpkins lived in Santa Fe for most of his life, working among artists like Jozef Bakos, Willard Nash and N.J.O. Nordfeldt. He was a founder of the Transcendental Painting Group, a collective of Southwestern artists influenced by Wassily Kandinksy and other abstract expressionists. The Lumpkins Files features serigraphs and felt-tip pen drawings from the 1960’s and 1970’s, around the time Lumpkins settled in Santa Fe for the third and final time.
“Bill was in his late 50s and early 60s when he made these works, but they’re bold aesthetic experiments in unusual media,” says gallery owner Lawrence Matthews. “It’s a rare and exciting experience to discover new sides of an artist more than a decade after his death.”
Lumpkins was mostly known for his abstracted watercolor landscapes. Printmaking and drawing allowed him to stretch his palette and abstract vocabulary in new directions. In the series of serigraphs, dated 1965, the artist shattered the landscape into jagged blocks of color that overlap to form a complex, multilayered picture plane. For the drawings, made in the early-to-mid 1970’s, Lumpkins selected uncharacteristically bright hues and kept them starkly divided. Land forms, trees and buildings tumble across the page, often vanishing among many-sided geometric forms.
Experience this once-in-a-lifetime show at the reception for NEW MEXICO MODERNS: The Lumpkins Files on April 18 at Matthews Gallery from 5-7 pm. For more information, visit www.thematthewsgallery.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.