29th Oct, 2019 12:00 EST

Modern & Contemporary Art

 
  Lot 51
 
Lot 51 - Jules Olitski (American, 1922-2007)

51

Jules Olitski (American, 1922-2007)
Color Flow

Signed, partially titled, dated 1965 and inscribed with medium verso, acrylic on canvas.
90 x 85 in. (228.6 x 215.9cm)

Provenance: The Artist.
Kasmin Limited, London, United Kingdom (acquired directly from the above in 1968).
André Emmerich Gallery, Inc., New York, New York.
Private Collection, Warren, Vermont (acquired directly from the above in 1985).

Sold for $75,000
Estimated at $50,000 - $80,000


 

Signed, partially titled, dated 1965 and inscribed with medium verso, acrylic on canvas.
90 x 85 in. (228.6 x 215.9cm)

Provenance: The Artist.
Kasmin Limited, London, United Kingdom (acquired directly from the above in 1968).
André Emmerich Gallery, Inc., New York, New York.
Private Collection, Warren, Vermont (acquired directly from the above in 1985).

Color Flow comes at a crucial moment in Jules Olitski's painting career, as he moved from building up canvases with thick impasto paint to experimenting with industrial spray guns used to thinly apply an all-over stain of color. From 1965 until the early 1970s, the painter saturated his canvases with thin, ethereal layers of color, creating what sculptor Anthony Caro called "a painting like a cloud."(1) In this way he freed color to become an experience or a sensation. In the present work, the artist has employed a large-scale canvas and pulsing orange tones that serve to envelop the viewer. Yet, he has punctuated the painting with dabs of color and areas of purple-gray gradations that together gently assert the two-dimensionality of the canvas.

Olitski's particular innovations were championed at the time by art critics Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried as belonging to the evolution of pictorial abstraction, and earned the artist many accolades in his lifetime, including being the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Born in Ukraine, Olitski moved to the United States with his mother at a young age and was educated in art schools in New York in Paris, later becoming a professor and influencing a new generation of painters. Olitski remained grounded in art history throughout his long career, often referring to Rembrandt's sweeping use of dark and light, and how the artist managed to "take possession of the whole canvas and everything in it."(2) Olitski certainly achieved this expressive quality in his work, whether thick with impasto and gesture or sprayed-on and ethereal.


1 and 2: Anthony Caro and the Artist, as quoted in: "Jules Olitski: Modern Master" video, courtesy of Ames Hill Video and the Jules Olitski Family Estate, on www.kasmingallery.com/artists/jules-olitski.

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