Shells is a charming example of Berresford’s still life work. It draws on the School of Purism that Amédeé Ozenfant taught her, almost entering the realm of abstraction with the three unique, semi-flattened shapes floating in a spaceless slate grey color field. They are strangely familiar and yet foreign, sumptuous curves offset by an alien strangeness. They draw on the natural designs of seashells but evade definite classification. The grey and white shape, most recognizable as a conch shell, takes on a mechanical sheen at odds with its organic structure.
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Though born in New Rochelle, New York, Virginia Berresford spent the majority of her career as a Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts painter and gallery owner, working in a style both similar to and distinct from that of Georgia O’Keefe and the American Modernists. During her career, Berresford exhibited at prestigious venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Today, her work can be found in many private and public collections, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the National Gallery of Art.
Private collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- (top stretcher in pencil) $40.°°
- (top stretcher in pencil) VB— / grey & [shells? or whelk?]
- Brock & Co., Concord, Massachusetts, with painting description