Elizabeth Murray was represented by Pace Gallery for more than two decades. But now, almost 13 years after her death, her estate has chosen Gladstone Gallery to show and sell the pioneering Neo-Expressionist painter’s work. For Barbara Gladstone, the gallery’s owner, including Murray’s work in group shows with more contemporary artists to expand her audience is one of her top priorities. Bolstering Murrays’ international profile is another.
“I’ve been thinking about this and dreaming about this for a long time,” Ms. Gladstone said in an interview on Monday. “I have always admired Elizabeth’s work and thought it was time for it to be seen in a new context.”
The decision was announced on Tuesday.
Murray was among the most important artists to arise in New York during the 1970s, but she is less well-known than some of her counterparts. This is because of, in part, her preference for painting, which was relatively unpopular at the time, and her particular style, which imbued abstractions with a cartoon-based, expressive spirit. Sexism, too, likely played a role: When Neo-Expressionist painting became popular in the 1980s, it was often slightly younger male artists like Julian Schnabel and David Salle who were credited with its emergence.
Despite these challenges, Murray forged a successful and influential career that culminated with a celebrated retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2005. Ms. Gladstone cited the effect that Murray has had on painters like Carroll Dunham and Amy Sillman, both of whom are represented by her gallery, as a part of the reason she was keen to add her to the roster. But it’s Murray’s resonance with artists from the most recent generations that Ms. Gladstone is particularly keen on highlighting and exploring further. “I think there’s a lot of what Elizabeth did that’s extremely relevant to lots of things being done today.”
This exchange of influence, she hopes, will go both ways, with younger artists using their platforms to forward Murray’s work. “ The people who follow them.” Ms. Gladstone said, “I’m sure they know Elizabeth’s name, but I’m not sure they’re really familiar with her work, and I’d love for them to see it.”
Daisy Murray Holman, Murray’s daughter and the head of her estate, expressed her gratitude to the Paula Cooper Gallery and Pace, the galleries her mother worked with during her lifetime. “Murray’s work was supported, and her distinct voice protected by these two singular institutions,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to the next era of collaboration.”