During the course of his long and productive career, Stephen Pace (American, 1918-2010) was an important contributor to Abstract Expressionism. Pace began his formal training at the age of 17 with studies in drawing and watercolor with WPA artist Robert Lahr. He continued to hone his skills while serving abroad in Europe during World War II by painting views of local landscapes. Upon his return, he studied with Hans Hofmann, who had a tremendous and immediately visible influence on Pace’s work in the 1950s, particularly in Pace’s use of planes of color to describe volume. In 1960, Pace returned to painting more figural subjects in a style characterized by simplified forms and imaginative colors. He most often painted his immediate surroundings finding inspiration in the coastline and fishing village of Stonington, Maine, as well as scenes from his memories of growing up on his family's farm in Missouri.
The works in this collection were a generous 2020 donation to the museum by the Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation. The foundation donated over 130 works, including paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints and sketchbooks from all periods of Pace’s career.