Richard Taittinger Gallery is honored to present at the Gallery and The Armory Show, the historical group exhibition, 1959-1963 American Pioneers of Castelli Gallery, a Tribute to Nassos Daphnis.
Since his founding in 2015, Richard Taittinger Gallery has represented the Estate of Nassos Daphnis, who was an artist of Leo Castelli's Gallery for almost 40 years. Along with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Daphnis was the most exhibited artist of this legendary gallery.
From 1959 to 1963 Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Nassos Daphnis, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Salvatore Scarpitta, and Frank Stella were exhibited side by side at the Castelli Gallery yearly. Together, they were seen as the cutting edge alternative to the era’s widely revered Abstract Expressionist movement. The purpose of 1959-1963 American Pioneers is to underline the importance of Daphnis’s Minimalist works during this period. It showcases the artistic dialogue shared with his peers from the Castelli Gallery, as pioneers of the mid-century New York art scene as we know it today.
In 1958, Nassos Daphnis wrote his Color and Plane theory, which marked his jumping off point as a Minimalist. His works of this period are best characterized by his effort to liberate color from form. Converse to the work of Mondrian and his peers, he felt that form should not dictate the advancement of color.
As a result, Daphnis created paintings and sculptures that were developed by planes of color, space being established between two planes. He translated this theoretical approach to art through his use of materials, as well. To that end, this exhibition presents Daphnis’ applied use of Masonite, Plexiglas, and Magna paint. His technical approach to making art allowed him to move quickly through styles and practices of painting. By 1963, Daphnis had moved away from Minimalism, a near decade before his contemporaries.
Well-know New York art critic April Kingsley wrote in 1984 on these works “Some of Daphnis’ paintings from the later 50s are so radical you’d assume they’d been painted at least 10 to 15 years later. His devotion to purity predicts 60s minimalism; his systemic approach predates systemic painting.”