Jess Ex. 4-Trinity's Trine 1964

  • Not on view

This painting of laboratory apparatus is based on an engraving, affixed to the back of the canvas, that originally appeared in an 1887 issue of Scientific American magazine. Jess transformed the original through the almost compulsive application of up to nine layers of paint on top of a pencil drawing, the lines of which are still visibly incised. The artist sought not to create a photographic duplicate of the original but to evoke its "sensibility"” He explained, "I'm translating that image out of the nineteenth century into my time, using what knowledge I do have, which is not enough." Before becoming an artist Jess was a chemist with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and played a small role in the Manhattan Project, developing the first atom bomb. The work’s title may allude to the first nuclear test, in 1945, code named Trinity.

Gallery label from 2008.
Oil on canvas over wood
45 7/8 x 48 1/8" (116.5 x 122.3 cm)
Purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and an anonymous donor
Object number
© 2024 Jess / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Stichting Beeldrecht, the Netherlands
Painting and Sculpture

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