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Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






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Works on display that are part of our guided tour and activities on 9/11/19

4 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object

Copyright
All Rights Reserved ()

Absalom Passage—18

Accession Number
1973/2.82

Title
Absalom Passage—18

Artist(s)
Jules Olitski

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1973

Medium & Support
acrylic on canvas

Dimensions
72 in x 99 3/4 in (182.88 cm x 253.37 cm);99 3/4 in x 72 in (253.37 cm x 182.88 cm)

Credit Line
Purchase made possible by the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Gosman

Label copy
March 28, 2009
From 1968, Olitski used rollers, squeegees, and a spray gun in order to deposit pigment onto the canvas without using his own hands. These methods were widely influential among the group of “color-field” abstract painters who dominated the American art scene in the late sixties and early seventies. The thin lines of pastel paint that trace the extreme left and right edges of the canvas are used by Olitski to bring the viewer’s attention to the shape and structure of the painting.
Jules Olitski was close to giving up his career as an artist in 1958 when his paintings, which had up until then been completely ignored by the public, caught the eye of art critic Clement Greenberg, at the time one of the most influential authorities on modern art. Under the guidance of Greenberg (who would come to his studio, look at a painting he liked and say, “Do that more”) and with his promotion, Olitski (and others doing work like him) came to represent the pinnacle of the modern American tradition in abstract painting.

Subject matter
Here, Olitski creates a canvas that is almost entirely one-solid color which has been applied with a spray gun. Olitski, one of the most prominent color field painters of the time, drew his inspiration for color and painting from Renaissance use of light and color, especially in terms of their development of dramatic effects of light and chiarascurro. With paintings such as this one, Olitski applies this inspiration to the modernity of the time in which he was working. Though the color of this painting is simple, it's allover application has a captivating effect and the enormity of the canvas draws the viewer in to its presence. The name of this painting, Absalom, comes from the biblical figure, the third son of David who plotted to seize the throne from his father, but that narrative is not referenced in this abstract painting.

Physical Description
Olitski has covered nearly the entire canvas in the same grey acrylic using a spray gun.  On the right side of the canvas, there is a group of vertical lines in red, blue, and white. 

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
abstract

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Bible
Bible stories
Color-field
Non-Representational Art
abstraction
allover patterns
modern and contemporary art
painting

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& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved