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Photograph of Dwinell Grant, by Sharon Donarum. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.

Dwinell Grant's paintings, drawings and art films are usually deemed abstract, but he preferred the term "organized field." An interest in the origins of visual communication and in Gestalt psychology was the basis of his rather abrupt switch from more traditional forms in 1935. In 1938, he had his first solo exhibit, at the Dayton Art Institute, and in 1940, he had a one-man show at the Guggenheim. He then developed the concepts of graphic theme structure and thematic counterpoint, which prompted the composition of his five award-winning animated art films. These short, silent compositions strongly influenced succeeding decades of experimental filmmaking. He continued to work as an "organized field" artist, on paper, canvas, and on film, throughout his life. Additionally, Grant was an animation director of Navy training films during World War II and wrote and designed animation for medical teaching films, which he continued to do until 1980. He is considered a pioneer in the world of art films. His work is in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Metropolitan, the Guggenheim, and the Smithsonian.

Photograph of Dwinell Grant, by Sharon Donarum. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.

Education & Community

Education and Training
Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio
National Academy of Design, New York City, New York
Wittenburg University, BFA, Springfield, Ohio, 1940

Teachers and Influences
Influenced by Gestalt psychology, and visual communication
Siegfried Weng (Director of Dayton Art Institute)
Hilla Rebay (Director, S.R. Guggenheim Museum)
His Grandfather, who gave him informal art training in portraiture
Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian

Connection to Bucks County
Dwinell Grant was a Solebury resident from 1956 until his death in 1991. He exhibited locally at Rodman House and Swain's Gallery, New Hope, among others. He participated heavily in Bucks County Council on the Arts events, and in 1983, his work was included in the 10th Anniversary Celebration for the Bucks County Council on the Arts. Grant was presented with the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1988.

Colleagues and Affiliations
Juror, Bucks County Council on the Arts, Bucks County Challenge


Major Solo Exhibitions
Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York, 1940-1944
Artist of the month at Solebury Bank, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1976

Major Group Exhibitions
Dayton Art Institute, Ohio, 1938
Grant Galleries, New York, New York, 1939
Riverside Galleries, New York, New York, 1939
Swain's Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1961
University of New Mexico Art Museum, New Mexico, 1977
Rodman House, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1982
Museum of Non-Objective Arts, New York, New York, 1944

Major Collections
Arts Council of Great Britain, England
Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
National Library of Australia, Australia
National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

Oil abstraction of pharmaceutical research for McNeil Pharmaceutical, Pennsylvania

Major Films Performances
Dwinell Grant's animated films has been featured at:
Anthology Film Archives, New York, New York, 1975
Pacific Film Archives, San Francisco, California, 1977
Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California, 1977
Pittsburgh Film Makers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1978
Film as Film
, traveling exhibit in Europe, 1977-1979
Berks Filmmakers Inc., Reading, Pennsylvania, 1979
American Film Festival, New York, New York, 1979
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 1980
University of Colorado, 1980
Bucks County Community College, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 1980, 1981, 1982
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, 1981

Awards & Appointments

Teaching and Professional Appointments
Instructor of Art and Dramatics, Wittenberg University, 1935-1941
Assistant to the Director, Guggenheim Museum, New York City, 1940-1941
Animation Director, Navy Training Films, World War II
Sturgis-Grant Production, Co-director (Medical Animation)

Major Awards
Solomon R. Guggenheim, Foundation Fellowship, 1948
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Fellowship
Mid-Atlantic Region Media Arts Fellowship
Dwinell Grant Films, shown during the Gubernatorial Inauguration, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 16, 1979
Pennsylvania Hazlett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Media Arts, 1980
Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Award for the Arts, 1988

Affiliations and Memberships
American Abstract Artists, member

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