"Pace's work as an Abstract Expressionist during the 1950s was first displayed in New York at the Artists Gallery. It was described by The New York Times as consisting of "dark, energetically worked abstractions achieved through a distinctive blend of brushwork, drawing and staining".
**The following works were acquired directly from the artist.
Pace's paintings are included in many prominent private and public collections, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden The Whitney Museum of American Art National Museum of Art
Beginning in the 1950s, Pace (1918-2010) became a prominent member of the New York group of abstract expressionist painters. His work, hailed by the New York Times for its "highly sophisticated use of color and joyous compositions," was included in most of the Whitney annuals and at the artist-run invitations at the Stable Galley. In the 1953 Whitney Annual Exhibition of Sculpture and Works on Paper, Pace's large watercolor was prominently hung between works by Kline and Hoffman and was signaled out for enthusiastic comment in Art News by hennery McBride, who referred to the "elegant outpouring" of his paint.
Stephen Pace's work was widely praised by the New York press when he had exhibitions at Artists, Poindexter, and Howard Wise Galleries. Writing for The Sun (Baltimore) in 1957, Kenneth Sawyer acknowledged that Pace's art had "prompted critical huzzahs from the vanguard," going on to recognize that Pace's paintings "contained "the resonance of an entire mnemonic scale, a quality both profound and satisfying in the rigorous sense." In the New York Times in 1960, Dore Ashton described Pace's paintings-on view at Wise's Gallery-as "abstractions in which energetic elements battle their way to equilibrium," commenting: "no matter how baroque Mr. Pace's compositions are-and they are nearly all fretted with tilting and bucking forms-they do, ultimately come to rest."
Pace became part of the downtown New York art scene, where he became good friends with Franz Kline, one of the leading abstract expressionists. He was also befriended by Willem and Elaine de Kooning and by Jackson Polluck, all of who showed interest in and support for the emerging younger abstract expressionist.
The large gestural abstractions that Pace produced in the 1950s fit right in with the ethos of the New York School, yet among the torrent of brushstrokes there were occasional intimations of a landscape experience in qualities of light, density, and color. After a decade of exhibiting with the Abstract Expressionists in major New York galleries Pace found nature forcing its way back into his paintings and since that time his colorful gestural works have been devoted to recollected scenes from his Indiana childhood on the farm and activity on the Maine waterfront.
Pace first came to Maine in the early 1950's with a small group of artists. After that initial visit, the Paces frequented the state and finally bought a house in Stonington in the 1970s, so he could divide his time-painting half the year at his Maine studio and half in New York. He turned to representational painting in the 1960's, and his summer home on Deer Isle provided endless subjects and inspiration. For many years he divided his time between Stonington, Maine, Manhattan, and Washington D.C. where he taught at American University. In 2007, he and Pam returned to the locale of his youth to live in New Harmony, Indiana, where he painted until his death
Pace's paintings are included in many prominent private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and National Museum of Art. Pace is also the subject of a hardbound book, Stephen Pace, written by Matica Sawin and published by Hudson Press in 2004, as well as the documentary video, Stephen Pace: Indiana Painter, produced as part of the Maine Master Series.