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Philip Guston
Transition
1975
oil
66 x 80 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Musa Guston



Philip Guston painted Transition during a period of deteriorating health. Its mood is nightmarish, the artist hiding behind a canvas as a clock marks time and a door beckons. Horrified by the Holocaust, Guston included a pile of shoes in this disjointed scenario as a reference to the Jews who were exterminated during World War II.