This smoking Klansman doubles as a self-portrait. In the late phase of a long career, Guston explored a satiric vision of himself and the world. In the 1930s and 1940s he had been a politically engaged painter, influenced by Mexican Muralism. His work then evolved into an Abstract Expressionist style. It was only in the last decade of his life that he turned back to figuration, with a comic and ironic sensibility.
Gallery label from Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now, November 21, 2007-July 28, 2008.