Gagosian is pleased to announce the exhibition of Stanley Whitney’s painting Dear Paris (2023) at 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris. Inspired by the artist’s extended stay in the French capital, Dear Paris is the latest of Whitney’s lyrical abstractions.

Balancing systematic structure and expressive spontaneity, he composed the painting in his characteristic manner, one roughly rectilinear block at a time, starting at the top left and progressing in rows across and down the canvas. Whitney forms each shape with energetic brushwork, choosing its vivid hues and shaping its boundaries concerning its predecessors. The painting’s subtly shifting freehand geometry is further demarcated by linear bands between its rows that both divide and unify the composition.

Pursuing abstraction since the 1970s, Whitney established his mature style in the 1990s while living and working in Rome. The compositional framework he employs allows him the freedom to improvise, facilitating the emergence of surprising chromatic harmonies and dynamic visual rhythms. The artist’s wide-ranging influences include the polyphonic call and response of jazz, the transformative effect of light cast on historic buildings, the traditions of American quiltmaking, and artists from Henri Matisse and Piet Mondrian to Giorgio Morandi.

Whitney’s recent residency in Paris offered him the sustained opportunity to observe the city’s architecture and urban fabric and to connect with its expansive cultural history. As he observes: There’s a history of African Americans going to Paris that dates back to after the First World War. Jazz musicians, writers, and artists like Beauford Delaney, James Baldwin, and more recently, Ed Clark, went to Paris for a creative freedom they couldn’t find in the United States. I’ve always wanted to spend more time in Paris, and in 2023, I finally did so. It was incredible to be in the city where so many of the great artists of the twentieth century, artists who were integral to my development as a painter, had lived and worked. In Paris, there’s a play between different periods in a long history; you just don’t have that in the States.

Dear Paris coincides with Stanley Whitney: How High the Moon, the artist’s first comprehensive retrospective, organized by the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York. The exhibition will be on view from February 9 to May 27, 2024, before traveling to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2024–25), and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2025). Spanning the entirety of Whitney’s career, How High the Moon traces the evolution of his practice through paintings, drawings, prints, and sketchbooks.

Stanley Whitney was born in 1946 in Philadelphia, and lives and works in New York and Parma, Italy. Collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Solo exhibitions include Recent Works, A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna, Rome (2004); Six Paintings, Omi International Arts Center, Ghent, NY (2012); Dance the Orange, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2015); Focus, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2016); The Italian Paintings, Palazzo Tiepolo Passi, Venice (2022); and Dance with Me Henri, Baltimore Museum of Art (2022–23). Whitney participated in Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel, Germany, in 2017.