"It was just the soaring...the gloriousness of the music."
From 1959 - 1962, Lynne Mapp Drexler dove into a lyrical abstraction that was much different from her earlier works - full of movement and color and a synthesis of Post-Impressionist landscape painting and post-war painterly abstraction.
A student of Hans Hofmann, Drexler easily subscribed to Hofmann's ideas of color theory and formal approach, but it was Classical music that really inspired her into abstraction. Although much of her later life was spent year-round out on Monhegan Island (almost unheard of and considered reclusive) during the late 1950s, Drexler found herself in New York City where she would regularly attend concerts at Carnegie Hall. Sketchbook in hand and colored pencils in her purse, she would translate the sounds and the feeling of music to paper. Afterwards, back in her studio, she would paint colorful, musical canvases.
Hans Hofmann had theories about the relationship between color and musical scales, which resonated with the classical music enthusiast Lynne Drexler. Hofmann believed that each color had it's own specific rhythm: "The rhythmatic development of the red scale differs from that of the blue scale or the yellow scale, etc. The development of the color scales spreads over the whole picture surface and its orientation, in relation to the picture surface, is of utmost importance."
From Drexler’s sketch, you can see her seamless interpretation of sound into color. The diagonal lines shoot and radiate outwards, relaying the sense of motion and drama; perhaps a cymbal crash or trumpet blast.
Larger square elements ground you in the piece and prevent the eye from wandering chaotically. The same could be said of the central chords or rhythm of a song. Smaller circles and dots are sprinkled through the canvas like gentle clusters of keystrokes in a musical composition. All of this transposed through Drexler's intimate relationship to color makes her work alive yet harmonious.
Many of our collectors have too picked up on these traits and passionately collect her work. Accomplished pianist, singer, and musician John Legend added a Drexler to his collection in 2015. It is hung behind his piano. We're sure Lynne Drexler would be thrilled to know the connection between her paintings and music lives on.
Vallarino Fine Art in partnership with the McCormick Gallery in Chicago is pleased to have some of these rare examples in our inventory. Please contact the gallery for pricing
Quote from Hans Hofmann: William C. Seitz, Hans Hofmann, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1963, pg 28.
Additional information interpreted from the video produced by the Monhegan Island Museum, a Roger Amory film, in association with the Pound of Tea Productions © 2008 as well as the introductory essay by Susan Danley in the exhibition catalogue, Lynne Drexler: Early Spring, produced by Vallarino Fine Art and the McCormick Gallery that can be viewed here
Image right: Still from the above mentioned film