Nassau Museum Reveals Blockbuster Color Show

Major paintings by Matisse, Kandinsky, Rothko, Motherwell, Stella and a masterwork by Titian

A wing dedicated to the paintings of Wolf Kahn

A gallery of neon and rising stars of the Contemporary art scene featured

Greta Garbo’s favorite color paintings, including one by her brother, on view

July 21-November 4, 2018

Nothing in art is more powerful than color. From the shock effect the Fauves (“Wild Beasts”) and the rainbows of Delaunay and Kandinsky to the seductive radiance of neon, the story of color is a tale of wonder. The full range of color’s magic is on display in this exuberant show of over 100 works from the original master of color, Titian, to this moment’s hottest talents. The roll call of the great colorists in the show is a hit parade of art history’s most exciting names: Kandinsky, Hofmann, Klee, Albers, Rothko, Warhol, Joan Mitchell, Yves Klein, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, David Hockney, Wolf Kahn, Peter Halley, Joseph Kosuth, Juan Usle, Nathan Slate Joseph and Callum Innes. The Titian, the only one on view on Long Island, will be presented in a dramatic installation in the library of the former Frick mansion. A painting by Greta Garbo’s brother Sven Gustafson, together with one of the Hollywood star’s favorite works from her “wall of color” in the East Side Manhattan where her collection was on view, have been loaned by her heirs. Among the other lenders to the show are the most important galleries and private collections in the region, including Pace, Kasmin, Sean Kelly, Cheim and Read, Yares, Eric Firestone, Asher B. Edelman and Marc Strauss.  

The show also introduces rising stars of the Contemporary scene, such as Miya Ando, Doug Argue, Deborah Kass, and Keith Sonnier. A remodeled gallery will hold huge Color Field and Neo-Geo works, and a wall of display cases will present the pastel glassware designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose paintings are the core of the Museum’s holdings. Among the significant Long Island-based talents in the show, a huge watercolor by Barbara Ernst Prey, an installation by Nathan Slate Joseph, and paintings by Scott McIntire are part of the show.

Programming for the show has been underwritten by Lord & Taylor, part of their celebration of the remodeling of the Manhasset store. There will be two “curated” concerts by local chamber ensembles, the pieces selected to match the contents of the show, as well as a symposium featuring many of the greatest experts on color in design, fashion, film and psychology (including Donald Kaufman, one of the top color minds in the world), as well as artist talks, lectures, Manhattan gallery tours and a director’s seminar held in his private office.

Potent even to the point of being considered dangerous, color is the most exciting element of art, the strongest tool in the toolbox. Because it is also a largely uncontrollable force, it remains the most vital source of new art. “Color, above all, is a means of liberation,” Matisse declared. 

Here is a partial list of artists included:


Henri Matisse

Robert and Sonia Delaunay

Stanton MacDonald-Wright

Wassily Kandinsky

Franz Marc

Mark Rothko

Hans Hofmann

Ellsworth Kelly

Andy Warhol

Yves Klein

Alfred Jensen

Arthur Carter

Callum Innes

Joseph Kosuth

Frank Stella

Wolf Kahn

David Hockney

James Nares

Robert Motherwell

Peter Halley

Nathan Slate Joseph

Juan Usle

Joan Mitchell

Miya Ando

Deborah Kass

Larry Poons

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by curator Charles A. Riley II, PhD, whose book Color Codes is on the required reading list of many art programs including the Rhode Island School of Design, Yale and MIT. In addition, the exhibition will be the center of demonstrations of color theory and technique and classes in painting and drawing at the Manes Family Educational Center that are specifically tailored to the content of the show. The emphasis of the programming will be an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of color, weaving art and music, psychology, literature, philosophy and design. 

About the Museum:

Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to12). Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m. Media Contact: Charles Riley, (516) 484-9338 x 37, 

Public Information: Nassau County Museum of Art, (516) 484-9338;