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Scepter

1960-1961 William Baziotes Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1912 Died: New York, New York 1963 oil on canvas 66 x 78 1/8 in. (167.7 x 198.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 1968.52.15 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing


Luce Center Quote

“It is the mysterious that I love in painting. It is the stillness and the silence. I want my pictures to take effect very slowly, to obsess and to haunt.” Baziotes, “Notes on Painting,” It Is, 1959

Luce Center Label

The hazy, dappled background of Scepter evokes a primordial world where elemental forms drift in and out of focus. William Baziotes painted intuitively, in an effort to capture what he called a “phantom that must be . . . made real” (Baziotes, “I Cannot Evolve Any Concrete Theory,” Possibilities I, 1947-48). He was not interested in literal meanings, and many of his titles come from images or objects that he saw in the paintings once they were completed. Here, the white shape suggests many things---a wisp of smoke, a scepter of state, or an elaborate piece of calligraphy.

Keywords

Abstract

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About William Baziotes

Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1912 Died: New York, New York 1963

More works in the collection by
William Baziotes