Perle Fine Biography

Perle Fine




Perle Fine, painter and printmaker, was born in Boston on April 30, 1905. She moved to New York in 1927 to study at the Grand Central Art School and the Art Students' League. She would later study intaglio printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at his Atelier 17 between 1944 and 1945 and lithography with Robert Blackburn in the late 1940s.

Fine spoke of her education and non-objectivity, "I felt that one should have a grounding in academic painting; at least one had to know what it was in order to overcome it. For a thing to be abstract meant to me that you had to feel strongly enough about it to turn your back on realism and do everything necessary in an abstract way to put across a feeling which meant being totally abstract or non-objective." By the 1930s her art was firmly anchored in the non-objective, and she joined the circle of Hans Hofmann and his art school in both New York and Provincetown. In the early 1940s, while painting in a cold-water flat on New York’s 8th Street, Fine was one of the young talents and few women promoted by Hilla Rebay and the Guggenheim Museum.

Fine’s first individual show was at the Willard Gallery in 1945, and in 1950 she was sponsored by Willem de Kooning and admitted as one of the first women members of the 8th Street Artists’ Club, located at 39 East 8th Street in New York. She was chosen by her fellow artists to show in the Ninth Street Show held from May 21 to June 10, 1951. The show was located at 60 East 9th Street on the first floor and the basement of a building, which was about to be demolished. She also participated from 1951 to 1957 in the invitational New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals, including the Ninth Street Show.

In the 1950s Fine moved to the Springs section of East Hampton on the eastern end of Long Island where she built her studio. It was a summer colony turned permanent residence for many artists of the New York School and she lived near friends and colleagues Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollack, becoming a member of a sparse but ultimately enduring artistic community. She taught at Hofstra University from the early 1960s until 1974.

Fine is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. A retrospective of her work, Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine, was shown at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois in 2012. Fine is currently represented in the exhibition, Women of Abstract Expressionism, at the Denver Art Museum, which will travel to other venues in 2017.

Perle Fine died in Southampton, New York on May 31, 1988.