Janet Sobel: All-Over

Feb 23 – Aug 11, 2024
Main Building

This exhibition focuses on the abstract paintings made by Janet Sobel (1893–1968) during the 1940s. Short-lived but meteoric, her career began in 1943, when leading New York dealers, collectors, and other artists took up her work, culminating in her first solo show at New York’s Puma Gallery in 1944, and another solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in 1946.

Acclaimed for her skillful use of color and densely layered compositions that spilled to the edges of the support, Sobel pioneered what became known as “all-over” abstraction. American critic Clement Greenberg later called her paintings “the first really all-over effect that I had seen.” Organized with the support of the Sobel family, this exhibition marks the first time her major paintings have been reunited in over sixty years.

A selection of works on paper further expands the exhibition by demonstrating her approach to drawing, with a series of parallel linear strokes that knit foreground and background together into dense, interlocking patterns.

Janet Sobel: All-Over is curated by Natalie Dupêcher, Associate Curator of Modern Art, The Menil Collection. The exhibition is organized with the support of the Sobel family.

This exhibition is generously supported by Judy and Charles Tate; Henrietta Alexander; Eddie Allen and Chinhui Juhn; Cindy and David Fitch; Frost Bank; Caroline Huber; MBJLB Trust and Jacquelyn Barish; Susan and Francois de Menil; Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray; MaryRoss Taylor; and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

Janet Sobel: All-Over at the Menil Collection, Houston. Video: Jay Clark Films
Connecting Lines: Janet Sobel and Abstract Expressionism | The Menil Collection, Houston. | April 24, 2024
The Modern Art Notes Podcast Live with Tyler Green and Natalie Dupêcher | The Menil Collection, Houston. | May 23, 2024