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Emily Mason Biography

Emily Mason has spent more than six decades exploring her distinctive vein of lyrical, luminous abstraction. Her paintings executed in oil are distinguished by a sense of intriguing intimacy combined with uncompromising, though gentle, intensity. They evince a sense of structure within open, luminous space and juxtapose robust color harmonies with vivid contrasts that create an engaging optical vibration. Robert Berlind said of her in Art in America, “Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.”

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Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art. She studied at Bennington College for two years before attending and graduating from the Cooper Union. She spent 1956-58 in Italy on a Fulbright grant for painting, where she studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice.

During Mason’s two-year stay in Italy she married the painter Wolf Kahn, whom she had met earlier in New York. Mason and Kahn’s daughter, Cecily Kahn, is also an abstract painter, as was Emily Mason’s mother, Alice Trumbull Mason, a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group in New York.

Mason has exhibited steadily since she emerged on the Tenth Street gallery scene with multiple exhibitions at the Area Gallery in New York City in the 1960s. In 1979 she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy. She taught painting at Hunter College for more than thirty years. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections.

Emily Mason: The Fifth Element, a comprehensive treatment of her work by Art in America associate managing editor David Ebony, was published in 2006 by George Braziller publishers. A second monograph, Emily Mason: The Light in Spring, was published in 2015 by University Press of New England.

Emily Mason Featured Artworks

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Ocean Fault by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonOcean Fault, 2018Oil on canvas
61 x 50.8 cm
Miles McEnery Gallery Enquire
Went to Sea by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonWent to Sea, 2018Oil on canvas
71.1 x 55.9 cm
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Sea Life by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonSea Life, 2018Oil on canvas
71.1 x 50.8 cm
Miles McEnery Gallery Enquire
Down Draft by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonDown Draft, 2018Oil on canvas
71.1 x 61 cm
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From Space by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonFrom Space, 2018Oil on canvas
76.2 x 61 cm
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Taos by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonTaos, 2018Oil on canvas
81.3 x 50.8 cm
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Prelude by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonPrelude, 2018Oil on canvas
86.4 x 61 cm
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Head Land by Emily Mason contemporary artwork painting
Emily MasonHead Land, 2018Oil on canvas
81.3 x 61 cm
Miles McEnery Gallery Enquire

Emily Mason Recent Exhibitions

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