Published: February 14, 2018
NEW YORK CITY — Sonia Gechtoff (b 1926) died February 1 at 91 years of age.
She was married to the artist James Kelly (1913–2002) in San Francisco — both came from Philadelphia. They were participants in the Beat scene and exhibited at King Ubu Gallery on Fillmore Street. Gechtoff was close friends with Deborah Remington and Ernest Briggs — two acclaimed second-generation Abstract Expressionists and she admired Clifford Still. They moved to New York in 1958 because of New York’s booming art network.
She has been affiliated with the Anita Shapolsky Gallery for many years, and her piece “Goya’s Ghost” is in the current exhibition “Focus on Abstract Gems.”
Gechtoff is considered one of the most influential female Abstract Expressionists. Her work evolved into forms evoking flickering flames combining her tactile palette-based strokes into more contained compositions.
She was one of the 12 women featured in the well-publicized traveling exhibition “Women of Abstract Expressionism” (2016–17). Sonia Gechtoff not only contributed to the dialogue of Twentieth Century visual art, but cemented the importance of how influential the West Coast Abstract Expressionist scene was to the moment as well.
Her work is in numerous museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Denver Art Museum, as well as in numerous private national and international collections.
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