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Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist

University of Chicago Press

9783777431925

Agnes Pelton became famous for her distinctive metaphysical landscape paintings rooted in the imagery of the American Southwest and California. Drawing chiefly on her own inspirations, superstitions, and beliefs, Pelton manifested emotional states in the form of ethereal veils of light, jagged rock forms, shimmering stars, and exaggerated horizons. Through these imaginary tableaus, she constructed a fantastic world that allowed her to make sense of that which is uncontrollable, establishing for herself a new universal order rooted in the natural world.

Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is the first survey of this understudied painter in more than twenty-two years. Examining the artist’s work in relation to the movements of abstraction, surrealism, and art of the occult, this vibrant book sheds light on Pelton’s remarkable influence on American spiritual modernism.

Exhibition Schedule:
Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Springs, CA
November 19, 2020–September 6, 2021




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