Blast III, 1958
Signed ADOLPH GOTTLIEB, dated 1958 and inscribed with title and measurements on the reverse
Oil on canvas
69 x 40 inches (175.3 x 101.6 cm)
[Paul Kantor] to Gifford Phillips, Santa Monica, California, 1959
Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York School - The First Generation, July 17 - August 1, 1965
Roslyn, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art, Long Island Collections, May 29 - September 12, 1993, no. 77.1993.1
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles. New York School: The First Generation, 1965, illus. p. 97
Donald L. Weismann, The Visual Arts as Human Experience, New Jersey, 1974, pp. 67-70, illus. p. 67, pl. 17
Between 1957 and 1958, Adolph Gottlieb completed a series of three paintings entitled Blast I, Blast II and Blast III. Though these works were not the first realizations of the iconic and recognizable form that came to be known as the "burst" paintings, they are fully developed manifestations of the contrasting gestural forms for which Gottlieb is best known.
Gottlieb, as well as many other American artists of his generation, were hungrily searching for a modernist language to call their own. Beyond the influences of Picasso, Miro, Kadinsky and Klee, these artists also incorporated ideas from Surrealism and tribal arts. This led Gottlieb to paint his celebrated pictographs of the 1940's, figurative works painted in a highly expressionistic style.
Blast III, painted on a grandly human scale, is a striking juxtaposition of tranquility and dynamism. The cool stillness of the oval shape is balanced by the thrust and energy of the more vibrant black form below it. Beyond these opposing forces there is also a suggestion of landscape, with the upper sphere emblematic of a setting sun over a raging and tumultuous landmass. Whatever abstract forms or ideas they are meant to represent, these clearly opposing yet harmonious forces actively engage both the mind and spirit of the viewer.
Doyle New York is particularly pleased to offer this work given the esteemed locations of the other two works in the series. Blast I, differing only slightly in color and size, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Blast II, the second of the "burst" trifecta, was offered in May 2003 at Christie's New York.
Estate of Harriette Alper Gifford
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