After the Second World War, Guston taught in Iowa and Missouri, took a fellowship in Rome, and settled in Manhattan only in 1950. Although he belongs to the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, his abstract style only coalesced around 1951. Although critics were quick to compare him to de Kooning and Still, Guston’s early work lacked the violence seen among his colleagues. Instead, he produced delicate pictures, seemingly spontaneous, but carefully and organically structured, like Mondrian’s “Pier and Ocean” series painted with Cézanne’s constructive stroke. When this painting was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 1956, the critic Leo Steinberg characterized it as “the afterimage of a flower garden fading on the inside of closed [eye]lids.”
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Philip Guston
[Charles Egan Gallery, New York, until 1953; sold in January 1953 to Steinberg]; Muriel Kallis Steinberg, Chicago (1953–2006; her gift to MMA)
New York. Egan Gallery. "Philip Guston," January 12–February 7, 1953, no catalogue.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "12 Americans," May 29–September 9, 1956, unnumbered cat. (p. 38).
Art Institute of Chicago. "63rd American Exhibition: Paintings and Sculpture," December 2, 1959–January 31, 1960, no. 44.
New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Philip Guston," May 2–July 1, 1962, no. 19.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Philip Guston," May 15–June 23, 1963, no. 19.
Houston. Art Department, University of St. Thomas. "Six Painters: Mondrian, Guston, Kline, De Kooning, Pollock, Rothko," February 22–April 2, 1967, no. 14.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940–1970," October 18, 1969–February 1, 1970, no. 110 (Collection of Mrs. Albert H. Newman, Chicago, Illinois).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection," May 21–September 27, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 79).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 17, 2007–February 3, 2008, extended to March 2, 2008, no. 43.
Leo Steinberg. "Fritz Glarner and Philip Guston among 'Twelve Americans' at the Museum of Modern Art." Arts 30 (June 1956), p. 44 [reprinted in Ref. Steinberg 1972].
Dore Ashton. Philip Guston. New York, 1960, ill. facing p. 18.
Frank O'Hara. "Growth and Guston." Art News 61 (May 1962), p. 52, fig. 2.
Leo Steinberg. Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art. New York, 1972, p. 282.
Frank O'Hara. Art Chronicles 1954–1966. New York, 1975, p. 137.
H. H. Arnason. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. Rev. and enl. ed. New York, 1977, p. 528, pl. 210.
Alice Hess. "Great Private Collections: A Chicago Visionary." Saturday Review 7 (October 1980), p. 72, ill. p. 75.
Hilton Kramer. "Modernist Show Moves Met Firmly into Art of 20th Century." New York Times (May 22, 1981), pp. C1, C21.
Eugene Victor Thaw. "The Abstract Expressionists." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 44 (Winter 1986–87), p. 47, fig. 41 (color).
David Anfam. Abstract Expressionism. New York, 1990, p. 155, fig. 126 (color).
Harry Cooper inAbstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 135–38, no. 43, ill. (color).