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1938 Rosalind Bengelsdorf Born: New York, New York 1916 Died: New York, New York 1979 oil on canvas 36 x 24 in. (91.5 x 61.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost 1986.92.10 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 40B

Luce Center Quote

“[The artist’s] painting expresses the love of life, the form and color of life---a vibrating response to its powerful energy.” Bengelsdorf, “The New Realism,” American Abstract Artists, 1938

Luce Center Label

Rosalind Bengelsdorf believed that “energy and form are inseparable,” and created paintings that expressed her interest in physical science. Here, the round, cell-like shape at the bottom of the image contrasts with the rigid lines that divide the canvas. The bright primary colors and simple shapes express the artist’s wish to “tear . . . apart” nature into its basic forms and reconstruct the pieces into something new (Bengelsdorf, “The New Realism,” American Abstract Artists, 1938).


Abstract - geometric

New Deal - Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project - New York City


paint - oil

fabric - canvas