Mary Abbott was one of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists. Born in New York City to a lineage traces back to John Adams, her childhood was one of privilege. Her early interest in art led her to take courses first at the Art Students League under George Grosz and later studied with Eugene Weiss at the Corcoran Museum School in Washington D.C. She spent time modeling for the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, before dedicating her career to art making after the war and departing from her husband in 1946. She soon met the sculptor David Hare, through whose introduction she befriended Willem de Kooning, enrolled in the experimental Subject of the Artist School founded by Robert Motherwell, and became a member of the Artist’s Club along with Perle Fine and Elaine de Kooning. She was soon making towering canvases characterized by sweeping brushstrokes merged into dense swarms of paint, many inspired by her winter trips to Haiti and the Virgin Islands with her second husband.
Abbott later began spending time on eastern Long Island, where the lush, floral aspects served as a generative impulse and stimulus. Painted in 2005, Untitled (Blue) was formed using nature as a “jumping off point” from which to take risks. Her sweeping and swirling organic shapes are informed by gesture, light and color.