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Pallas Athena--Earth

1961 Grace Hartigan Born: Newark, New Jersey 1922 Died: Timonium, Maryland 2008 oil on canvas 64 1/8 x 52 1/8 in. (162.9 x 132.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 1969.47.17 Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

"I knew . . . painting was not an activity but a total life. And you would do anything to keep painting, even if you starved. You were the paintings and the paintings were you." Hartigan, quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painters World, 1990

Luce Center Label

Pallas Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, strategy, and war. Grace Hartigan has been inspired by fantasy since childhood, when she would dream up stories filled with gypsies, queens, and fairy-tale characters. Here, figural elements emerge from the image, such as the suggestion of a face in the top right, but Hartigan's thick, abstract strokes of paint dominate the canvas. The rich tones of red, brown, and black evoke the earth, spreading across the lower half of the canvas, and the jumbled mass of color at the top may represent the confusion and noise of the realm of the gods. (Barber, "Making Some Marks," quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painter's World, 1990)

 

Keywords

Abstract

Allegory - element - earth

Mythology - classical - Athena

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Grace Hartigan

Born: Newark, New Jersey 1922 Died: Timonium, Maryland 2008

More works in the collection by
Grace Hartigan