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Professor Robert Mattison works with Banks Clark '10 during his Art History class.

Robert Mattison, Metzgar Professor and head of art, has written a 106-page catalog, Theodore Stamos: A Communion with Nature, to accompany a retrospective of Stamos’ painting running through June 19 at the Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City.

The catalog is the authoritative work on Stamos’ career. Stamos was the youngest member of the Abstract Expressionist group of American artists, and this is his first retrospective held in America in nearly 20 years. The catalog explores Stamos’ early engagement with Darwinian theory and natural theology as well as his discovery of such artists as Joan Miro, Paul Klee, and Arshile Gorky–the subject of Mattison’s most recent book.

The catalog follows Stamos’ discovery of petroglyphs in the mountains of New Mexico and his engagement with Asian art during the 1950s. It continues into the 1990’s when Stamos settled in Greece, the land of his ancestors, and was influenced by the light and colors of that locale as well as his discovery of Greek icon painting.

Abstract Expressionism, the first American art movement of international importance, is one of Mattison’s academic specialties. He has written five books focusing on the movement or artists who were influenced by it, including Arshile Gorky: Works, Writings; Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries; Masterworks: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella in the Robert and Jay Meyerhoff Collection; Grace Hartigan: A Painter’s World; and Robert Motherwell: The Formative Years.

In addition to teaching on this period in his classes, he has advised several students in their research. Among them was art and English graduate Sara Nersesian ’06, who researched the influence of Armenian iconography on Gorky’s abstract expressionist years as her senior honors thesis. The College has honored Mattison with the Sears-Roebuck Award for superior teaching and scholarship; the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship; the Daniel Golden ’34 Faculty Service Award; Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award for superior teaching and scholarly contribution to his discipline; and the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award.

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