Julie Mehretu | Lougher Contemporary

One of the most influential artists of her generation.

Exploring the history and politics of the urban environment.

Julie Mehretu | Lougher Contemporary

b. 1970

Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu's artistic process unfolds on expansive canvases and murals where she overlays, removes, and reimagines ink, pencil, and acrylic paint—sometimes incorporating spray or screen-printing techniques. Her approach channels the kinetic energy of the Futurists, the monumental scale of Abstract Expressionism, and the varied mark-making traditions spanning from Albrecht Dürer to Eastern calligraphy and graffiti. Mehretu employs this diverse blend of styles to delve into the history and politics of urban landscapes. Drawing from architectural blueprints, city maps, and photographs, she projects these sources onto her massive canvases, transforming them into intricate visual narratives of urban complexity.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Mehretu has garnered prestigious accolades including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Whitney Museum of American Art's American Art Award, and the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts. Her solo exhibitions have graced renowned institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum, Walker Art Center, and Whitney Museum. She has also featured prominently in global exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (2019), Documenta 13 (2012), and the Whitney Biennial (2004). Mehretu's artworks command substantial prices at auction, frequently reaching seven-figure sums, underscoring her influence and standing in the contemporary art world.


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Who is Julie Mehretu?

Julie Mehretu, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970, is a prominent Ethiopian-American abstract printmaker and painter. Her artistic journey began in Michigan when she moved there with her family in 1977. She pursued her education at University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar and earned a BA in Art from Kalamazoo College, followed by an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1997.

Since establishing her career in 1999, Mehretu has been based in New York, NY, with a studio in Berlin where she spends part of each year. Her oeuvre includes large-scale prints, drawings, and paintings characterized by intricate layering techniques that transform architectural photographs and patterns into abstract imagery. Each artwork is built up with hundreds of thin, translucent layers of paint and paper.

Critics often associate Mehretu's work with non-literal art movements such as Futurism and Constructivism. Symbolism drawn from graffiti, city maps, and comic book graphics permeates all her works, which frequently feature themes of explosions and sharp, arching line work. She draws inspiration from the monumental works of Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman.

One of Mehretu's most renowned pieces is the expansive 80-foot-wide mural titled "Mural," located in the Goldman Sachs tower and commissioned by the banking firm in 2010. This mural is visible from the street, showcasing Mehretu's ability to blend complex abstract forms with architectural spaces.

Explore Lougher's selection of Julie Mehretu art for sale to discover more about her captivating artistic universe and profound impact on contemporary abstract art.

Julie Mehretu | Lougher Contemporary

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