August 21, 2020
( through September )
East Hampton 1964 - Santa Fe 2020

This is a brief overview of the work of Michael Fitzhugh Wright, a remarkable and prolific painter who over the past seven decades has been creating paintings, drawings and prints.   We have brought together 100 available works  representing all subject matter and technique.  Michael's new  2020 work will continue to be shown in  future  shows. 


The numerous artworks that have been purchased through the years in addition to the Wright works that are held in private and corporate collections are unavailable for viewing in this particular retrospective.​      

* Recommended :  Desktop / Laptop viewing due to large number of images in this retrospective show.

Born in New Rochelle, New York in 1931, Michael Fitzhugh Wright studied art at the Yale Music and Art School, Albright Art School, and the Brooklyn Museum School.  After serving in Korea as a regimental artist, he began his career as a painter in New York City in 1954.

As a young painter, he was a friend and colleague of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and David Smith in the famous days of the Cedar Bar and Eighth Street Art Club.  He studied with Paul Brach through the New School and showed in several Tenth Street galleries with Howard Kanovitz, Aristodimos Kaldis, Earl Kerkam and Philip Pavia.

After living ten years in New York City, he moved to East Hampton and assisted Willem de Kooning from 1964 through 1967.


1960s, 70s

New York

After Korea, I returned to NYC and continued to paint.  I paid $40

a month for a studio on West 26th.  Directly above me lived pianist Duke Jordan who hosted daily rehearsals for Charlie "Bird" Parker and other notable jazz men.  Jazz gives me an astute rhythmic sensibility in my painting still to this day.  Also taught Art Therapy at Reese School 1960-1965, etc.   I was 25 years old when I left NYC, after living there 10 years. 

Met Bill de Kooning in Sag Harbor. He offered me a job as his assistant.  We became good friends.  I liked his honesty.  Bill wasn't social.  He spent his days working and painting.  What I learned from him was an attitude toward work.  Bill was a nine-to-fiver and was the most disciplined and methodized artist I'd ever met.   He was intense.  I respected him and was greatly influenced by him.  In turn, people were expecting something from me, I could feel that...

"Mike is a natural painter, he was born that way. 
 Mike's feeling for the land is unique... One of the best landscape painters I know." 
 Willem de Kooning

Cambridge, MA  

Beauty Hill Road, NH

Santa Fe, NM 


Continued to travel often to the Carribean, St. Johns in the 

Virgin Islands, Spain, Morocco, Italy.  Travelling provided new inspiration for my work.

Always influenced by nature... relished solitude in NH, intrigued

by the clarity of light and variety of forms in New Mexico.

I think now that the reason I painted figuratively for so long is that I did not want to be known as, or thought of by others as a protege of de Kooning in the sense that I painted like him. It was a struggle within myself between doing figurative work or doing abstract work.  It was a tricky line to walk.  I wanted my evolvement as an artist to come from myself.  

My work was now slowly becoming abstract ...



Riva Yares Gallery most of the 90s.


Large paintings, gestural work using charcoal to define forms, acrylic washes.

Large dark shapes began appearing on canvas.


Exciting changes occuring in the work.

"Michael Wright is like one of the muses that surrounds Santa Fe. 

 When I look at his paintings,  I feel the gentle air filled with the mystery

 of the mountains and canyons of that special place. 

 Water, air and spirit - this is what Michael's art is about."   Riva Yares



Marriage and moving. 

Had a large studio on the East Side of Santa Fe.

Then moved studio to Tano Road.

Thin overlays of color. 


Great control in the unfolding of the shape. 


Animating tension is ever-present.

My paintings evolve into natural abstractions as I simplify the shapes and forms I see and remember in nature.

2010s,  2020

Agua Fria 

Added an expansive studio to my Agua Fria home. 

Producing work and painting daily as I explore new possibilities, mediums and techniques. 

Preparing for 2020 shows.

Jubilant animated energy continues in work...

My lifelong relationship with nature gives me my source of inspiration... 
I am not trying to paint nature,
I am trying to be like nature.