Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Contact Info: 

Jennifer Holmes 608.357.0158



Judith and Howard Tullman Donate Painting by Jim Nutt

Madison, WI—The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art recently received a highly significant painting for the museum's permanent collection. Jim Nutt's seminal painting Toot and Toe (1969) is the second donation to MMoCA by Chicago art collectors Judith and Howard A. Tullman. Susan Gescheidle of Chicago's Gescheidle gallery helped facilitate this gift.

Jim Nutt, a founding member of the Hairy Who of the late 1960s, was prominent in the Chicago Imagist movement and continues to be a highly influential figure in contemporary art. At a time when European-influenced artists on the East Coast were moving from Freudian-infused abstract expressionism into cheeky pop art, the Imagists were adhering to a strict ideal of figurative expressionism. Belief that the human form could be more immediately evocative than pure abstraction or impassive appropriation allowed the group to create a powerful and distinctly approachable body of work. Although the Chicago artists embraced imagery from such quotidian sources as comic books and advertisements, their works, in contrast to pop art, stressed personal expression over sociocultural commentary.

Jim Nutt is perhaps best known for his brightly colored, dream-like paintings of awkward male-female interactions. Characteristic of Nutt's paintings from the late 1960s, Toot and Toe features a meticulously executed cartoon-like image of a floating male figure surrounded by everyday objects. Measuring 68 x 42 inches, it is a particularly important example of Nutt's early Plexiglas paintings. “I am delighted with the donation of this important painting,” said museum director Stephen Fleischman. “It will fill a major gap in the museum's Chicago Imagist holdings. I look forward to exhibiting the work when MMoCA re-opens in early 2006 as part of the Overture Center for the Arts.”

Howard A. Tullman is the President of Kendall College, in Chicago, Illinois; Chairman of the Board of The Cobalt Group, in Seattle, Washington (where he is an active supporter of the Frey Museum); a Director of the Princeton Review; and the General Managing Partner for Chicago High Tech Investors, LLC. In 2001, Judith and Howard Tullman gave MMoCA two paintings by the late Chicago-based artist, Christina Ramberg.

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