1965, acrylic on paper
signed and dated Adolph Gottlieb 1965
20 x 15 in., frame: 26 1/2 x 21 3/8 in.
Provenance: Marlborough Gallery, New York (label verso); by descent within the family of a private collector.
- Library of the Boston Athenaeum, From Boston Collections
, October 10 - December 1, 2007 (label verso)
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.