The hazy, dappled background of Scepter evokes a primordial world where elemental forms drift in and out of focus. William Baziotes painted intuitively, in an effort to capture what he called a “phantom that must be … made real” (Baziotes, “I Cannot Evolve Any Concrete Theory,” Possibilities I, 1947–48). He was not interested in literal meanings, and many of his titles come from images or objects that he saw in the paintings once they were completed. Here, the white shape suggests many things—a wisp of smoke, a scepter of state, or an elaborate piece of calligraphy.
“It is the mysterious that I love in painting. It is the stillness and the silence. I want my pictures to take effect very slowly, to obsess and to haunt.” Baziotes, “Notes on Painting,” It Is, 1959
- Not on view
- 66 x 78 1⁄8 in. (167.7 x 198.4 cm.)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
- Mediums Description
- oil on canvas
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI