Adolph Gottlieb, Three Discs, 1960, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., 1969.47.14
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
- On View
- Not on view.
72 x 89 7/8 in. (183.0 x 228.4 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
- Mediums Description
- oil on canvas
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