Margaret Peggy ReventlowAmerican, 1915-2014
Rentlow studied at Le Cours Maintnon in Paris and at Le College Feminin de Bouffemont. She studied sculpture with Oliver Barret and Felix de Weldon and painting at the Art Student’s League with Leo Manso and Bruce Dorfman.
Reventlow’s first solo New York exhibition took place at Hammer Galleries in 1961 and she exhibited there until 1968. In 1964 she had a solo exhibition at Tiffany and Company. Her work has been presented at the Palm Beach Galleries and at The Alwin Gallery in London as well as in Litchfield, Connecticut; Nantucket; Norfolk, Connecticut and elsewhere.
Her sculptures and paintings reflect her lifelong love of the outdoors and sports. Writing in Arts Magazine, critic William D. Allen remarked on the vibrant character of her work which he compared to that of the noted German Expressionist sculptors Ernst Barlach and Wilhelm Lehmbruck. Currently Countess Reventlow is represented in New York by Viridian Artists, Inc.
This particular work shows qualities of Neo-Expressionism, a diverse art movement that dominated the art market in Europe and the United States during the early and mid-1980s. Neo-Expressionism comprised a varied assemblage of young artists who had returned to portraying the human body and other recognizable objects, in reaction to the remote, introverted, highly intellectualized abstract art production of the 1970s. The movement was linked to and in part generated by new and aggressive methods of salesmanship, media promotion, and marketing on the part of dealers and galleries.
Neo-Expressionist paintings themselves, though diverse in appearance, presented certain common traits. Among these were: a rejection of traditional standards of composition and design; an ambivalent and often brittle emotional tone that reflected contemporary urban life and values; a general lack of concern for pictorial idealization; the use of vivid but jarringly banal color harmonies; and a simultaneously tense and playful presentation of objects in a primitivism manner that communicates a sense of inner disturbance, tension, alienation, and ambiguity (hence the term Neo-Expressionist to describe this approach). Among the principal artists of the movement were the Americans Julian Schnabel and David Salle, the Italians Sandro Chia and Francesco Clemente, and the Germans Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. Neo-Expressionism was controversial both in the quality of its art products and in the highly commercialized aspects of its presentation to the art-buying public.