Adolph Gottlieb. Pictograph. c. 1945

Adolph Gottlieb Pictograph c. 1945

  • Not on view

In 1941, Gottlieb began a series of works that came to be known as pictographs, including the one on view here. Often featuring boxlike structures or grids, these paintings, drawings, and etchings offer a synthesis of material as diverse as classical mythology, modern psychoanalytic theory, Oceanic, Melanesian, Native American, and African cultures, and contemporary art and literature. In these works, which feature a range of faces, shapes, and forms, Gottlieb hoped to create a unifying, universal visual language that could be understood by all humanity across time and geography.

Gallery label from Soldier, Spectre, Shaman: The Figure and the Second World War, October 24, 2015-March 20, 2016.
Etching and aquatint
plate: 7 15/16 x 9 15/16" (20.1 x 25.2 cm); sheet (irreg.): 9 7/16 x 12 5/16" (24 x 31.3 cm)
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Riva Castleman Endowment Fund
Object number
© Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].