Blue in Space

Media - 1976.130 - SAAM-1976.130_1 - 66277
Copied John Ferren, Blue in Space, ca. 1937, pastel on paper mounted on paperboard, sheet: 19 3425 12 in. (50.264.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Daisy Shapiro, 1976.130, © 1937 John Ferren

Artwork Details

Blue in Space
ca. 1937
Not on view
sheet: 19 3425 12 in. (50.264.8 cm)
signed lower right, in pencil [in image]: Ferren 38 on mount, recto, top right, in pencil: o t (upside down, askew) on mount, verso, center left to right, in paint [red]: Ferren 1937 on mount, verso, top left in pencil [upside down]: Blue in Space 1937 / 7 # 5 / 18 x 25 pm backing board, verso: various labels and inscriptions
© 1937 John Ferren
Credit Line
Gift of Daisy Shapiro
Mediums Description
pastel on paper mounted on paperboard
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

A pioneer of American abstraction, Ferren created this composition during a seven-year sojourn in Paris. He began his career as a sculptor, but turned to painting after he saw an exhibition of work by Henri Matisse and recognized the power of color. In the mid-1930s he worked at Stanley William Hayter’s printmaking workshop in Paris, Atelier 17, where he was encouraged to imprint his engraved and inked plated on wet plaster. When the plaster block dried, it showed the lines of the plate. He then carved into it to create a bas-relief sculpture of modeled and curved planes. Blue in Space resembles one of these carved plasters, translated into two dimensions with the planes defined by the rich colors of soft pastels.

Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009