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Exhibition poster for Peter Saul's first solo exhibition in the United States, Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, IL, 1961.
Exhibition poster for Peter Saul's first solo exhibition in the United States at Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, IL, November 1961.

Exhibition poster for Peter Saul's first solo exhibition in the United States at Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, IL, November 1961.

Sixty years ago this month, Peter Saul’s debut exhibition of ten recent paintings (and some drawings) opened at the Allan Frumkin Gallery in Chicago, IL. Saul and Frumkin had first met in Paris, where Saul was living at the time, in October of 1960 while Frumkin was in town to visit the studio of Roberto Matta. In a letter to the gallery’s director Dennis Adrian, reporting back on his trip abroad, Frumkin described (with some enthusiasm) his impression of Saul as “a very exciting & interesting young painter… He looks under 30. His work uses things like automobiles, ice boxes, Lone Ranger, bathrooms, etc., but painted in a rather fine New York manner, rather related to Gorky. His drawings are exceedingly good.” Saul was, in fact, 26 at the time and had been living in Europe since graduating from Washington University in St Louis, MO. So taken with the work, Frumkin offered Saul an exhibition, which opened at the gallery’s Chicago location less than a year later. Ten paintings were shown, including the first of his “Ice Boxes,” as well as a selection of drawings. A rave review in the local magazine “Chicago Scene” ordained that “Saul may be one of the more important young American artists now gaining their first recognition. Certainly he is one of the most entertaining.” True words indeed.