Lloyd Ney was one of the pioneers of American modernist non-objective art. While noted for his exhibitions in New York City, he is most frequently associated with the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Ney’s paintings were included in fifteen consecutive years of exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York from 1941-1956. He maintained a close friendship with Hilla Rebay, fellow painter and Director of the Guggenheim, and the two artists would correspond frequently critiquing each other’s work. During those years of exhibition, the Guggenheim Museum purchased three of Ney’s works for their permanent collection.
In 1917, Ney won the Pennsylvania Academy's Cresson Traveling Scholarship and, after serving his country in World War I, spent three years of studies in Europe. In 1924, Ney revisited Paris where he would become greatly influenced by artists, Pascin, Fougita, Lazar, Picasso, Kisling, and Kandinsky. It is evident from these earlier years that Ney embraced a more “expressive contemporary style,” with which he always experimented, but never departed. As Ney put it, "I was beginning to unlearn everything I had been taught at the Academy. It took me twenty years to forget the scars from five years in an art school."
Lloyd Ney’s body of work is expressive of a well-rounded and skillful artist who constantly experimented with modernist styles and techniques. His bright use of colors, experimental styles, and multi-dimensional perspectives, demonstrate the many life-long lessons he learned during his early training in Europe.
Ney was one of the founders of “The Independents” – a group of artists dedicated to challenging the traditional subject matter of regional artists. They also formed a new exhibition group called “The New Hope Modernist School,” with which Ney exhibited for most of his life.
Over his career, is best known for his 1940s and 1950s abstract, non-objective paintings that explore a sophisticated relationship in geometric shapes.
These works show Ney’s search for the essence and permutations of form and color in a field of circles, half-crescents, rhombuses, and parallelograms. He was unafraid to explore in the dark, as a nearly all-black canvas attests, in every tint of the rainbow and in pure white light. The watercolor painting by Lloyd Ney, in this exhibition, is an excellent example of these works.
Ney’s work was represented in many other prestigious exhibitions and galleries such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Phillips’ Mill Art Association, solo shows at the Guild Art Gallery and the Avant-Garde Gallery in New York City, and in numerous group shows in Europe. He also exhibited with the New Group and the Independents, New Hope’s two modernist organizations in the 1930s.