X is for Xceron

Letter X

 Today is the letter X in the A to Z Challenge

 I am taking this opportunity in this challenge to learn more about art and the artist who make them today’ s artist is



(I see Picasso looking back at me with this one)


hiding behind curves

peering back from safe distance

diversion – bottoms up



Jean Xceron (1890–1967) was an American abstract painter of Greek origin. He immigrated to the United States in 1904 and studied at the Corcoran School of Art. . For the next six years he lived and worked with relatives in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and New York City . He first encountered modernism when, in 1916, two fellow students arranged an exhibition of avant-garde paintings borrowed from Alfred Stieglitz.  He exhibited in the New York Independents’ exhibitions in 1921 and 1922. In New York, Xceron studied Céanne and read as much as possible about new artistic movements abroad.

Xceron was finally able to travel to Paris in 1927. There he began writing reviews of the latest in art for the Boston Evening Transcript and the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune. His articles on Jean Hélion, Hans Arp, John Graham, Theo Van Doesburg, and other artists showed his increasingly sophisticated understanding of recent art. About the same time, his own painting underwent a dramatic transition.

As a writer, he was quickly accepted into the Parisian art world as one of the few critics sympathetic to modern art; but few realized that Xceron was an accomplished painter as well. Boy, was he living a double life.  Soon word of his talent came out and a solo exhibition at the Galèrie de France in 1931.

His style was that of an artist who was working his way through Cubism,  Still-life and,figural motifs over the years he moved away from his figural foundations, introducing at first gridlike structural patterns and, by the mid 1930s, planar arrangements of severe Constructivist purity. I have to say, I don’t know what any of that means. But some of you might so I left it in.



When Xceron returned to New York in 1935 for an exhibition at the Garland Gallery, he was among the inner circle of Abstraction-Création and other leading Parisian art groups. Moreover, he had achieved some reputation. He again visited New York in 1937 for a show at Nierendorf Gallery. Although planning only a visit, his move proved permanent. Xceron soon joined the American Abstract Artists, who welcomed him as a leading Parisian artist. Despite his reputation, however, he fared little better commercially than did his new colleagues. He was hired by the WPA Federal Art Project and executed an abstract mural for the chapel at Riker’s Island Penitentiary.

Clearly his art didn’t really provide a consistent means of support. He worked at the Guggenheim Museum as a security guard for 28 years from 1939 to his death. He is described as a “pioneer of non-objective painting” by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.  His works are in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.



a to z



4 responses to “X is for Xceron

  1. Interesting…what I learned about this artist is that his notoriety and shows seemed to be more linked to who he knew, wrote about and hung out with than his actual artwork. Often the case. His work is not bad and shows a good grasp of what others were doing at the time, but it doesn’t look like he got to the developmental stage of having his own point of view. Either way, he didn’t make a living at it. Such is the struggle of being an artist, I guess.


    • I thought it was more that he had not enough confidence in his abilities as an artist. So he always had something else
      to fall back on..writing..security guard. I don’t know enough about art to talk about developing a point of view. But it feels like all of them took a dip into whatever was trending at the time in their search for success. Then they didn’t. Thanks for stopping by.


      • It’s good to check out what’s trending, or anything else you can learn. What I mean by point of view is that eventually an artist must at least bend a theme to make a real mark. There is nothing wrong with having other means of income when you’re an artist in my opinion. It leaves you the freedom to follow your creativity instead of only creating to sell, and ultimately may give the freedom to find what’s unique in your own art. When I gained confidence in my artwork, I quit chasing a career in it. I came to understand my best pieces were born of inspiration that took time, and commissioned works and gallery demands would not fit that path. Thanks for chatting and for the inspiring post.


      • I get what you mean by point of view..like Picasso Monet Van Gogh and Pollock. Their work is easily identified with them…until they change. I can see how having other means of support allows for that focus on creativity. Nice chatting with you too. I learned something. Have a good day.

        Liked by 1 person

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