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Between and Mortarboard

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Rosy Mood

Accession Number

Rosy Mood

Adolph Gottlieb

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
serigraph on paper

24 5/8 in. x 18 5/8 in. ( 62.5 cm x 47.3 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Clark

Label copy
In the late 1930s, Adolph Gottlieb relocated to Arizona from his native New York City to paint for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. After two years in the Southwest, Gottlieb returned to the East Coast and soon embarked on a very different artistic path. Though he quickly abandoned the Social Realism championed by this federal program in favor of a European-influenced abstraction, the effect of his time in Arizona—particularly his exposure to the colors and space of the desert landscape—would emerge over the coming decades as a central motif in his work. Beginning in the 1940s, Gottlieb created paintings called "pictographs"—grid-like patterns of imaginary signs and symbols that suggest primitive mythologies with connections to both the Far East and the indigenous art of the Americas. The following decade brought an evolution from this highly stylized grid to a less dense, more abstract space known as his "imaginary landscape" series. This series further evolved beginning in the late 1950s with his "bursts," which were characteristically composed of a floating sphere hovering above a gestural mass.
Rosy Mood is a fine example of Gottlieb’s signature "bursts." The warm palette of terracotta red, deep rose, and rich black evoke the colors of twilight in the Southwest. Despite the soothing colors, there is an undercurrent of energy in this composition that emanates from the two central forms. In the "burst" series, the orb is often interpreted as a sun or moon floating above an earthlike mass whose shape seems to suggest a sense of vibration and, perhaps, internal unrest. Given the newly emerging environmental movement of the time, the notion of earth’s fragility is perhaps a significant factor influencing the creation of this series.
Katie Weiss, Research Assistant, on the occasion of the exhibition The New York School: Abstract Expressionism and Beyond and Beyond, July 20, 2002 – January 19, 2003

Primary Object Classification

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Non-Representational Art
modern and contemporary art

3 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)
PAST: Sun & Sunshine
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )

& Author Notes

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