New attention was focused on Slobodkina’s work in the 1980s, when she was rediscovered as a pioneer of American abstract art. In 1980, her paintings from the 1930s and 1940s were featured in New York City in an exhibition at the Sid Deutsch Gallery. With additional shows at the Sid Deutsch Gallery in 1982, 1985, and 1988, her work again became well-known among curators and collectors .
In 1983, two of Slobodkina’s works, Construction No. 3, 1935, and Ancient Sea Song, 1943, were exhibited in Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, 1927—1944 at the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, in Pittsburgh and traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in 1984 . This landmark exhibition presented the first comprehensive study of abstract art in the United States from 1927, when Gallatin established the Gallery of Living Art, until 1944, the year of Mondrian’s death . In this exhibition, curators John R. Lane and Susan C. Larsen brought the early work of Esphyr Slobodkina and many of her abstract artist-colleagues to public attention in a major New York museum.