Philip Guston gets first Venice museum show

Accademia exhibition will open for this year's Venice Biennale, more than 50 years after the artist represented the US


The Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, best known as a treasure house of Italian Renaissance masters such as Mantegna, Titian and Tintoretto, will this summer present the work of Philip Guston, the Modern painter they inspired. Opening on 10 May, in time for the 57th Venice Biennale, Philip Guston and the Poets (until 3 September) will bring together 75 paintings and drawings ranging from Guston’s beginnings as a teenage muralist in 1930 to his death in 1980.

The exhibition, organised by the independent curator Kosme de Barañano and the artist’s estate, explores the affinities between Guston’s pictures and the words of five poets: T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, W.B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens and Eugenio Montale. It will be the first museum show dedicated to Guston in Venice, where he was one of the artists representing the US at the 30th Venice Biennale in 1960. The Accademia was the artist’s “first stop” in Italy that summer, recalls Musa Mayer, Guston’s daughter and the president of the Guston Foundation.

The collaboration represents the “artist’s return to our city” and a chance to “bring Guston’s work into context”, says the gallery director Paola Marini. “From his own writings during his time in Italy, we know that the paintings he discovered in the rooms and halls of the Accademia exerted enormous influence upon his vision.”