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Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary

11 February- 13 May 2012

Mint Museum Uptown 




Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is the first retrospective of the British-American Surrealist painter's work organized by an American museum in more than thirty years.  Featuring more than two dozen paintings by the artist, it is drawn entirely from the collection of his sister, Elisabeth Onslow Ford Rouslin, and nephew, Max Onslow Ford Rouslin.  Many of the objects in the exhibition were either created especially for Elisabeth or were given to her for special occasions.  Because of the closeness and longevity of their relationship, the exhibition will offer a full range of Onslow Ford's career, from early, more traditional canvases from the 1920s and 1930s, to his first experiments with Surrealism in the late 1930s and 1940s, to his later work from the 1950s forward, which took a more cosmic, symbolic approach to abstraction.  The exhibition will also include a selection of ephemera and works by family-member artists who were inspirational to Onslow Ford early in his career. -Jonathan Stuhlman, Curator of American Art


Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary will run concurrently with Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy and Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s as part of the Surrealism and Beyond exhibition.The exhibition is an apt companion to Double Solitaire as it reveals another dimension of Surrealism and features Onslow Ford, who knew and worked alongside Sage and Tanguy in the 1930s and 1940s.  Onslow Ford also wrote a book on Tanguy's artistic process in 1980, Yves Tanguy and Surrealism. 


About the Artist


Intimate Audio Tour by Max Onslow Ford Rouslin

Max Onslow Ford Rouslin, the artist's nephew, shares a rare, intimate glimpse into Gordon Onslow Ford's private life and his personal associations with a few of the works presented in this exhibition. Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary showcases the collection of Max Rouslin and his late mother, Elisabeth Onslow Ford Rouslin, to whom the exhibition is dedicated. Growing up in a home filled with these featured works and more, Max Rouslin knows many of their stories. Through the cell phone tours available to Museum's visitors, he places each piece within the broader context of Surrealism while also examining their personal history within the Onslow Ford family. The Mint Museum Library is pleased to present the transcriptions of this audio tour here:


  • In the first presentation, Rouslin introduces you to the exhibit in the context of Tanguy, Sage and Seliger. Onslow Ford Tour - Introduction.pdf.
  • Rouslin discusses the sketch by Roberto Matta, describing the close relationship between his mother Elisabeth and Matta as well as the history behind "do you remember our game in Suisse." Onslow Ford Tour - Roberto Matta.pdf.
  • Rouslin fondly remembers The Love Knot which was painted while Onslow Ford and his bride, Jacqueline, were residing in Mexico and then was given by Ford to his sister, Elisabeth, as a wedding gift. Onslow Ford Tour - The Love Knot.pdf.
  • The two dragons featured in the exhibition relate back to Onslow Ford and Elisabeth's childhood and can be connected to two artistic milestones in Onslow Ford's voyage, according to Rouslin. Onslow Ford Tour - Two Dragons.pdf.
  • See a 2002 Interview with Gordon Onslow Ford by Lyn Keinholz.







Created by Holly Silinski, Library Intern.  Edited by Megan Westmoreland, library intern.