Born in New York City, Charles Shaw became a significant figure in the history of American abstract art. His work was noted for its clarity of form and architectural construction. In the later part of his life, he turned to Abstract Expressionism.
Shaw was described as a "wealthy man-about-town, poet and minor novelist" before he began to paint seriously when he was in his 30s. His parents died when he was young, and he was raised by an uncle.
He took a circuitous journey to life as an artist. From a wealthy New York family, he graduated from Yale in 1914 and completed a year of architectural studies at Columbia. In the 1920s he pursued journalism, writing articles on the city nightlife for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The Smart Set. Then in 1927, he began drawing, taking class at the Art Students League with Thomas Hart Benton and Georges Luks of the Ash Can School, delving into the tradition of portraiture, still life and landscapes.
Shaw served in World War I, and in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he took a long trip to Europe, living in Paris and London, traveling to Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Florence, Rome, visiting museums, spending time with artists, reading about various genres of art, taking drawing classes, all while staying abreast of American trends. He met with fellow abstractionists Jean Hélion, Joan Miró and Le Corbusier in Paris, and with the artists Georges Braque, Constantin Brancusi, Wolfgang Paalen, Man Ray, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and John Ferren. This continuous and diverse exposure enriched Shaw's development as an artist and allowed him to become a special and original combination of American and European aesthetics.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1933, Shaw began to depict abstracted versions of cityscapes, with the distinctly American imagery of the Manhattan skyscrapers appearing in his compositions in various degrees of abstraction. His immersion into the city and its resulting influence on his art was likely furthered as he undertook photography of New York and Brooklyn, used alongside his 1936 article on historical sites and becoming the book New York-Oddly Enough in 1938. Sharing similar artistic pursuits and ideals in American abstraction as well as friendship, Shaw, along with the artists George L. K. Morris, Suzy Frelinghuysen, and Albert Eugene Gallatin, became known as the "Park Avenue Cubists," a sophisticated group who pursued their own art and promoted the art of others.
As a key figure in early American abstraction, Charles Green Shaw was a unique amalgamation of a multifaceted life, education and career that resulted in a significant and beautiful body of art. Shaw holds the special recognition of being the only American born artist to be awarded two solo exhibitions during his lifetime at Solomon Guggenheim's Museum of Non-Objective Painting. He also was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group, established in 1936 in New York City to champion the understanding of abstract art. Shaw's works can be found in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian.
**ADDITIONAL PAINTINGS BY THE ARTIST CURRENTLY IN INVENTORY. PLEASE CONTACT GALLERY FOR DETAILS.**