American, 1903-1974


1965, acrylic on paper
signed and dated Adolph Gottlieb 1965 lower left
20 x 15 in., frame: 26 1/2 x 21 3/8 in.

  • Provenance: Purchased in 1966 at Marlborough Gallery, New York (label verso) by a private collector; by descent within her family.

    - Library of the Boston Athenaeum, From Boston Collections, October 10 - December 1, 2007 (label verso)
  • Notes:
    This work is listed as no. 6575 in the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Archives.

    The thick, gestural brushstrokes and circular motifs in Adolph Gottlieb's Burst paintings draw on mythical and anthropological motifs to reflect a ‘totality of existence.' In a 1943 letter by Gottlieb and Mark Rothko published in the New York Times, the Abstract Expressionists declared, ‘We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.' In Untitled, the simple, binary structure of the composition relies on the polarity of the circular focal point at the top of the paper and the gestural burst at the bottom. The upper zone appears to vibrate, evoking a calming effect reminiscent of Color Field paintings. In contrast, the frenetic energy in the bottom zone engages with the gestural abstraction tradition.
  • Condition: Overall good condition. Floated in frame, sheet is affixed to backing with eight small pieces of old tape along edges. Faint discoloration to edges of sheet, most visible on lower left edge and along bottom.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

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