A wealthy New York artist known as one of the “Park Avenue Cubists,” Charles Green Shaw painted Wrigley’s as an advertising pitch to the company, combining abstraction with commercial art. He placed a package of spearmint gum against a series of rectangular forms that resembles the lower Manhattan skyline. Shaw echoed and contrasted the blocky, static shapes of the vertical skyscrapers with the levitating, rotating rectangle of the featured product. Although the advertising firm declined to produce this design, the witty juxtapositions of Shaw’s composition align Wrigley’s gum with the streamlined, modern skyscrapers and the pulse of urban life.
Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.
Purchased with funds provided by the Alsdorf Foundation
Extended information about this artwork
Judith Tannenbaum, “Charles Shaw,” Arts Magazine 50, 6 (Feb. 1976), p. 15.
Judith A. Barter et al., American Modernism at the Art Institute of CHicago, From World War I to 1955, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 113.
New York, Washburn Gallery, Charles Shaw: Work from 1935 to 1942, Dec. 2, 1975–Jan. 10, 1976. [works in show are not listed, nor is Wrigley’s illustrated, but the Judith Tannenbaum article in Arts Magazine confirms that it was in this show.]
Ridgefield, Conn. Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Charles Shaw, June 25–Aug. 7, 1977, no cat.
New York, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, The Park Avenue Cubists: The Work of Gallatin, Morris, Frelinghuysen, and Shaw, Jan. 14–Mar. 29, 2003; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Apr. 22–July 31, 2003, and Gainesville, Florida, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Sept. 2–Nov. 30, 2003.
Art Institute of Chicago, America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s, June 5–Sept. 18, 2016; Paris, Musee de l’Orangerie, Oct. 15, 2016–Jan. 30, 2017; London, Royal Academy, Feb. 25–June 4, 2017, cat. 42.
Collection of the artist; bequeathed to Charles H. Carpenter, New Canaan, CT, 1974; [Washburn Gallery, c. 1974–1978], sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1978.
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