Lynne Drexler’s Legacy: Unveiling Her Impact on the Farnsworth Art Museum

Lynne Drexler's Legacy: Unveiling Her Impact on the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine

Lynne Drexler’s legacy at the Farnsworth is just beginning. Thanks to an innovative approach to curation and collection management, this abstract impressionist will continue to support the Farnsworth through the generous donations of several works from her estate, as well as through the Lynne Drexler Acquisition Fund.

Who Is Artist Lynne Drexler?

Lynne Drexler is a Maine artist best known as one of the second generation of American abstract expressionist painters who first emerged in the late 1950s. Born in Virginia in 1928, Drexler moved to New York in 1956 and spent many Maine summers on Mohegan Island with her husband John Hultberg, an abstract impressionist “superstar” of the 1960s. They moved to Mohegan full-time in 1983, and nature and classical music inspired her artistic works.

When the artistic power couple separated, Hultberg moved to Portland and then New York, while Drexler remained in Mohegan and continued painting until she died in 1999. Interest in her work has grown steadily since her death: Architectural Digest prominently featured one of her paintings in a story on John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s New York apartment. After her death, the Drexler estate gifted many of her paintings to museums in Maine, including the Farnsworth.

Lynne Drexler: Maine Influence

Having spent much of her adult life in Maine, Drexler’s paintings are said to “exude the atmosphere of the East Coast landscapes.” She’s known for using a multitude of slightly different shades to create richly toned, beautifully composed works of art that explore the intersection of nature and abstract impressionism.

How Lynne Drexler Paintings Launched the Lynne Drexler Acquisition Fund

The Farnsworth received a gift of several paintings from her estate. In 2022, the museum made the difficult decision to sell the first of two of her works in an effort to diversify our collection. “Flowered Hundred” exceeded expectations, selling for $1.197 million at Christie’s Auction House in New York.

The Farnsworth decided the best way to honor Drexler was to use the proceeds from the sale to launch the Lynne Drexler Acquisition Fund. We have already used funds from the first sale to acquire multiple works from women and artists of color, always crediting the Lynne Drexler Acquisition Fund for making it possible.

Many female artists of the time, especially those married to prominent artists like Drexler was, were overlooked during their lifetime but are now sought out by collectors and museums. The second Drexler painting is expected to go to auction this spring as the Farnsworth continues to honor her contributions and Maine legacy.

Don’t Miss “Lynne Drexler: Color Notes”

From May 4, 2024 to Jan. 12, 2025, the Farnsworth will feature a special exhibition, “Lynne Drexler: Color Notes,” which includes a mix of newly conserved Drexler paintings as well as some on loan from other institutions and private collections.

As an artist, Drexler made it a daily practice throughout her life to observe, paint and draw. This exhibit highlights her passion for nature combined with her exploration of abstraction.

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