Between 1961 and 1964 Dine made a series of works that used the shape of the artist’s palette both as a backdrop for other imagery and as a surrogate self-portrait. Here he playfully subverts the notion of the palette as the site where a painter mixes colors, rendering it not in bright hues – with the exception of a single, marginal flash of red – but largely in black, white and gray. To the thin, rather brittle surface of a sheet of tracing paper, Dine adhered torn and abraded scraps of wove paper. Their presence suggests the accrual of dried, unused pigment on the palette while simultaneously providing surfaces implicitly awaiting paint.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower center): Merry Xmas N 1963 Jim Dine
the artist, New York (1963; his gift in December 1963 to Posthorn); Stanley Posthorn, New York and Southampton (1963–2004; his gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934–2001," July 19–November 27, 2011, no catalogue.
Nan Rosenthal in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2004–2005." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Fall 2005), p. 40, ill. (color).