Artists explore concepts of space, color, light and design

Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group opens at Albuquerque Museum on June 26, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Albuquerque Museum presents Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California, and curated by Michael Duncan. The exhibition will be on view from June 26 to September 26, 2021.

Towards the end of the Great Depression, a loose configuration of artists organized to discuss and perpetuate an alternative to the social realism and homespun Americana that had been promoted by Regionalism and the Ash Can school. Initiated in Taos in 1938, the Transcendental Painting Group formed to explore a heightened vision of the American landscape, employing free-wheeling symbols and imagery drawn from the collective unconscious to depict a transfigured, spiritually alive America. Drawing as well on the non-objective experimentation of Wassily Kandinsky, along with other American modernists, these artists sought to evoke sensuous, synesthetic experiences of nature and the cosmos, often using references to music and esoteric philosophies.

Under the guidance of painters Raymond Jonson and Emil Bisttram, other artists affiliated with Transcendental Painting Group were Agnes Pelton, Lawren Harris, Florence Miller Pierce, Horace Pierce, Robert Gribbroek, William Lumpkins, Dane Rudhyar, Stuart Walker, and Ed Garman. All worked in New Mexico except Pelton, who lived in Southern California. 

The Transcendental Painting Group artists issued a manifesto stating that their purpose was "to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new concepts of space, color, light and design, to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual." Formally experimental, the Transcendental Painting Group painters often used geometric compositions similar to those of Constructivism and the Bauhaus, though their richly chromatic depictions of form celebrate musical rhythms and auratic light often missing from those earlier paintings.

Transcendental Painting Group art was also not just formal but sought to embody a higher spiritual reality following ideas gleaned from theosophical writings and concepts. Although relegated to the margins in later twentieth century thought, Theosophy was a crucial influence on the century's early artists and writers. The Transcendental Painting Group was particularly inspired by Theosophical writings, the works of Kandinsky, and the mystical philosophy and paintings of Russian emigré Nicolas Roerich and others.

This exhibition was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Henry Luce Foundation logo with a link to website


Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group
Albuquerque Museum
On view June 26–September 26, 2021

Visit our website for details about hours, ticketing, and more. The Museum is enforcing COVID-safe practices.

Details subject to change.



Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group

Abstract painting meets theosophical spirituality in 1930s New Mexico: the first book on a radical, astonishingly prescient episode in American modernism. Edited with text by Michael Duncan. Text by Scott A.Shields, MaLin Wilson Powell, Catherine Whitney, Ilene Susan Fort, Dane Rudhyar. Publisher: DelMonico Books/Crocker Art Museum (July 6, 2021) 240 pages

About the Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of European master drawings and international ceramics. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to augment its collections, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, children’s activities, and more.

216 O Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 * (916) 808-7000 *

About the Albuquerque Museum

Albuquerque Museum has served as the city's cultural center since 1967. Located in the heart of Old Town, the Museum is a leading institution for art, history, and culture in the Southwest. Albuquerque Museum is a division of the Department of Arts & Culture, City of Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Museum
2000 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque NM 87104



Denise Crouse
May 19, 2021