The Phillips Collection dives into American abstract expressionism to reveal a little-known but captivating story that focuses on the relationship among three of the movement’s seminal players: American painter Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), American artist and patron Alfonso Ossorio (1916–1990), and French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985). Featuring 55 paintings and works on paper from 1945 to 1958, the exhibition illuminates a key moment in postwar art. It reunites a number of works by Pollock and Dubuffet from Ossorio’s collection for the first time since they were dispersed after his death in 1990.
Angels, Demons, and Savages highlights visual affinities between the artists’ work, tracing the impact of Dubuffet’s art brut (art by the mentally ill and other so-called outsiders), the experimental spirit of Pollock’s technique, and Ossorio’s figurative language. As the focal point of the art world shifted from Europe to America, the exchange among the three helped bridge the widening gap between the continents.