Philip Guston (American (born Canada), Montreal 1913–1980 Woodstock, New York)
Oil on canvas
70 x 72 in. (177.8 x 182.9 cm)
Gift of Lee V. Eastman, 1972
Not on view
Guston was a high-school friend of Jackson Pollock, who encouraged him to move to New York where Guston achieved acclaim in the early 1950s for his densely painted, shimmering abstractions. Like his contemporary Willem de Kooning, however, Guston was never fully convinced that abstraction did not have some figuration at its heart. In his paintings of the early 1960s such as Close-Up III, dark, moody forms take shape on an otherwise abstract and colorful ground, as if to foretell Guston's eventual return to comic-strip-like imagery and self-portraits in the late 1960s. "Everything has an object. Everything has a figure. The questions is, what kind?" he told students at Brandeis University in 1966.
Inscription: Signed,dated, and inscribed (verso): PHILIP GUSTON/ (underlined) "CLOSE–UP III"/ 1961/ 70" x 72"
Lee V. Eastman, New York (by 1962–72; his gift to MMA)
New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Philip Guston," May 2–July 1, 1962, no. 90 (lent by Lee V. Eastman, Scarsdale, New York).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Philip Guston," May 15–June 23, 1963, no. 90.
Jewish Museum, New York. "Philip Guston: Recent Paintings and Drawings," January 12–February 12, 1966, no. 3 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Lee V. Eastman, Scarsdale).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Philip Guston," May 16–June 29, 1980, no. 36.
Washington, D. C. Corcoran Gallery of Art. "Philip Guston," July 20–September 9, 1980, no. 36.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. "Philip Guston," November 12, 1980–January 11, 1981, no. 36.
Denver Art Museum. "Philip Guston," February 25–April 26, 1981, no. 36.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Philip Guston," June 24–September 13, 1981, no. 36.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. "Founders and Heirs of the New York School," January 25–March 16, 1997, no. 55.
Sendai. Miyagi Museum of Art. "Founders and Heirs of the New York School," April 5–May 25, 1997, no. 55.
Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki. "Founders and Heirs of the New York School," June 28–August 3, 1997, no. 55.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. "Philip Guston Retrospective," March 30–June 8, 2003, no. 51.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Philip Guston Retrospective," June 28–September 27, 2003, no. 51.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Philip Guston Retrospective," October 27, 2003–January 4, 2004, no. 51.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Philip Guston Retrospective," January 24–April 12, 2004, no. 51.
Dore Ashton. The Unknown Shore: A View of Contemporary Art. Boston, 1962, p. 71, ill. p. 72, lists it in the collection of Lee V. Eastman.
H. H. Arnason. Philip Guston. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 1962, p. 37, no. 90, ill. p. 105 (color).
Henry Geldzahler in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 220, ill., identifies it as the first abstract painting by Guston in the MMA's collection.
Ross Feld inPhilip Guston. Exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1980, pp. 20–21, pl. 34 (color), states that Guston's abstract work comes to a literal "head" in this painting.
Eugene Victor Thaw. "The Abstract Expressionists." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 44 (Winter 1986–87), p. 47, fig. 42 (color).
Robert Storr. Philip Guston. New York, 1986, p. 42, fig. 37 (color).
Robert Zaller. "Philip Guston and the Crisis of the Image." Critical Inquiry 14 (Autumn 1987), p. 80.
Dore Ashton. A Critical Study of Philip Guston. 2nd. ed. [1st ed. 1976]. Berkeley, 1990, pp. 129–30, ill. p. 127.