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Philip Guston. Painting. 1954

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Philip Guston (American, born Canada. 1913–1980)

Painting

Date:
1954
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
63 1/4 x 60 1/8" (160.6 x 152.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Philip Johnson Fund
MoMA Number:
7.1956
Copyright:
© 2014 The Estate of Philip Guston
Audio Program excerpt

Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture

, October 3, 2010–April 25, 2011

Curator, Ann Temkin: Painting is a relatively early abstraction by Guston made soon after he had come under the spell of Abstract Expressionism and left behind the figuration with which he had worked for more than a decade.

This is almost to the point of being what you might call obsessive where he's standing next to the canvas and making these marks with his paintbrush one after the other. In this case, a lot of vertical strokes as well as horizontal strokes with layers and layers of closely related colors whether they're peaches, salmons, dark reds, burgundies here. And then building this architecture of paint strokes that only when he would take a rest and step back from the canvas would he realize what he has there.

But here in this picture one feels it's about something. It's about this red mass, is it landscape? Is it people? Is it a force? It's a force of paint.

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