Charles White: A Retrospective

Charles White. _Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man)_. 1973. Oil wash on board, 60 x 43 7/8 (152.4 x 111.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Richard S. Zeisler Bequest (by exchange), The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, Committee on Drawings Fund, and Agnes Gund. © The Charles White Archives/ Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

Charles White. Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man). 1973 4366

Charles White. Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man). 1973. Oil wash on board, 60 x 43 7/8 (152.4 x 111.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Richard S. Zeisler Bequest (by exchange), The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, Committee on Drawings Fund, and Agnes Gund. © The Charles White Archives/ Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

LAURA NEUFELD: Oil wash is really distinctive to Charles White. It was something he was a master of. He's really changing the nature of what you think of as paint. The oil paint is thinned with turpentine and is applied to the paper with a whole range of tools: rags, cotton balls, Q-tips, balsa wood, sticks.

What's remarkable to think about is the meticulous planning that had to be involved to make these works because there is no way to erase or remove the paint from the surface once it's applied. He would have started with the lightest application possible and slowly built it up to the darkest passages. You see the full range that can be created from one color.

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