The Unbridled Paintings of Lawrence Lebduska

January 25 – May 12, 2019

This exhibition presents the rare opportunity to exhibit the notable paintings of Lawrence Lebduska, one of the most popular modern folk art painters of 1930s America. Lebduskaʼs dreamlands and invented gardens teem extraordinarily with life and optimism in a nostalgic, uncorrupted style that captured the admiration of the American public.

Lebduska was an outsider artist who navigated the intensifying New York art scene without the academic trainings and institutional tenure of his contemporaries. Competing with the rise of the avant-garde modernist movements that seized the art historical world in New York and abroad, Lebduskaʼs intrinsically painted Edens of bucolic farms, city parks, and remote jungles, which propelled the artist and his work to celebrity among galleries, collectors and museums. Lebduska earned his first solo show in 1936 at the Contemporary Gallery in New York City nearly selling out his works, a show known to have ignited the folk art collections of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Eleanor Roosevelt. Lebduska was also included in the famed 1938 exhibition Masters of Popular Painting shown at the Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition is curated by Katherine Navarro, Associate Curator of Education. The Mennello Museum is pleased to present paintings from the Fenimore Museum; Cooperstown, NY, as well as those from our permanent collection and local collectors.  Lebduskaʼs work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the University of Arizona, The Fenimore Art Museum, and the Mennello Museum of American Art, among others.