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Three Discs

1960 Adolph Gottlieb Born: New York, New York 1903 Died: New York, New York 1974 oil on canvas 72 x 89 7/8 in. (183.0 x 228.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 1969.47.14 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

In 1957, the year the circular Russian satellite Sputnik was launched, Gottlieb began a series of paintings he called “bursts,” in which circles hover above calligraphic brushstrokes to suggest the existence of polarities in nature and life. It was the culmination of ideas about art that he and painter Mark Rothko articulated in a letter to the New York Times in 1943: “We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal….There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. . . . . The subject is crucial and only that subject-matter is valid which is tragic and timeless.”


Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008

Keywords

Abstract

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Adolph Gottlieb

Born: New York, New York 1903 Died: New York, New York 1974

More works in the collection by
Adolph Gottlieb