Painter Bernard Chaet, who died in October at 88, has a bracing mini-retrospective at Alpha Gallery. Chaet came up with the first wave of Boston Expressionists who studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in the 1940s. He went on to teach at Yale University for nearly four decades, during which time Yale became one of the leading art schools in the country.
Chaet was a painter’s painter, concerned with how the basics — shape, space, color, and light — can coalesce into something electric. He was an expressionist in the elemental sense of the word: His brushwork was bold and fluid. The Boston Expressionists tended to use that painterly quality to capture agitated narratives and anxieties. That is less the case with Chaet. Rather, the more painterly his work grew over the years, the more it seemed to be only about painting itself.
In his earlier works here, the
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