Adolph Gottlieb American

Not on view

T is an example of Gottlieb’s "pictographs," a group of works inspired by the artist’s desire to level cultural distinctions and aesthetic hierarchies. To create these experimental compositions, he filled the compartments of irregular grids with imagined forms, marks, and abstracted images born of a synthesis of cultural material, including European modernism, Native American pottery, African sculpture, Oceanic carvings, Jungian theory, and the writings of Irish author James Joyce. Through complex, textured canvases that draw on past depictions of human suffering and perseverance, Gottlieb sought to exorcise the anxieties brought about by the horrors of World War II. As he wrote in 1947, "Today when our aspirations have been reduced to a desperate attempt to escape from evil, and times are out of joint. . . . So-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our times."

T, Adolph Gottlieb (American, New York 1903–1974 New York), Oil on canvas

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