Philip Guston

12 May 2000 - 30 Jul 2000

The National Gallery of Canada is proud to present the exclusive North American showing of Philip Guston: Paintings of Four Decades, on view from 12 May to 30 July 2000. The exhibition, organized by Dr. Christoph Schreier, Deputy Director, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, features 45 paintings by Philip Guston produced from 1947 to 1979, including both abstract and figurative works. Montreal-born American artist Philip Guston (1913 - 1980) is one of the great figurative painters of the twentieth century. During his early years in Los Angeles, he became involved in the artistic and political movements of the West Coast intellectuals. Guston is considered one of the most important Abstract Expressionists of his generation, alongside other important representatives of the movement including Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Willem de Kooning. Rare as it is for an artist to be equally accomplished in both styles, Guston had the added challenge of creating figurative work in the late sixties, a period in which abstraction had become the new orthodoxy. His subjects are both deeply personal and humanistic, his works socially-committed documents of a violent age. As Guston himself explained, "So when the 1960's came along I was feeling split, schizophrenic. The war, what was happening to America, the brutality of the world. What kind of man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything - and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue."