The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 20, 2014

'Ripe for rediscovery': Hillstrom exhibit explores 60-year career of avant-garde artist

Hillstrom exhibit explores 60-year career of avant-garde artist

Though a New York newspaper critic once described Minna Citron's works as more well-known than Andrew Wyeth's, Christiane Hyde Citron, who lectured at the Hillstrom Museum of Art Monday night, was not surprised by gallery guests who knew little or nothing about her late grandmother.

"She worked right along side Pollock and Rothko — but she was a girl," said Christiane Citron, the late artist's scholar and art executor.

Minna Citron was part of the American modern art movement during each stage of her 60-year career as a painter and printmaker.

Christiane Citron co-authored a book about the pioneering abstract expressionist who continued to create art until a few years before her death at age 95. She also worked in collaboration with Juniata College Museum of Art in Pennsylvania to organize the traveling exhibit "Minna Citron The Uncharted Course from Realism to Abstraction."

Gustavus Adolphus is the fifth stop on the show's national tour, a visit requested by the college. The exhibit of 50 small works helps fulfill a Hillstrom Museum of Art mission — to present a more comprehensive history of art in the United States.

"Citron is one of those artists whose works are ripe for rediscovery," said Don Myers, museum director.

The title of the exhibition was derived from an essay by Citron describing the wandering trajectory of her stylistic development and how she allowed her imagery to develop almost unconsciously.

A Brooklynite who grew up living a comfortable life, Citron became dissatisfied with sameness in her world.

"Five days a week, she was in psychoanalysis," Christiane Citron said. "That's when she became interested in exploring the unconscious mind."

After studying New York City's Art Students League, Citron's life was centered at her studio near Union Square in New York. She belonged to the Fourteenth Street School, a group of artists that was an offshoot of the Ashcan School.

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