Pallas Athena--Earth

  • Grace Hartigan, Pallas Athena--Earth, 1961, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., 1969.47.17

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Pallas Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, strategy, and war. Grace Hartigan has been inspired by fantasy since childhood, when she would dream up stories filled with gypsies, queens, and fairy-tale characters. Here, figural elements emerge from the image, such as the suggestion of a face in the top right, but Hartigan's thick, abstract strokes of paint dominate the canvas. The rich tones of red, brown, and black evoke the earth, spreading across the lower half of the canvas, and the jumbled mass of color at the top may represent the confusion and noise of the realm of the gods. (Barber, "Making Some Marks," quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painter's World, 1990)

 

Luce Object Quote
"I knew . . . painting was not an activity but a total life. And you would do anything to keep painting, even if you starved. You were the paintings and the paintings were you." Hartigan, quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painters World, 1990
Title
Pallas Athena--Earth
Artist
Date
1961
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
64 1/8 x 52 1/8 in. (162.9 x 132.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Abstract
  • Mythology – classical – Athena
  • Allegory – element – earth
Object Number
1969.47.17
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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