History And Context


In Augustus Vincent Tack’s final paintings in the 1930s and 1940s, he experimented with scale and mood, as reflected in Time and Timelessness of 1943-44. Time and Timelessness is a preparatory sketch for the final monumental mural work of his career, the fire curtain for George Washington University’s new Lisner Auditorium.

Tack described to Duncan Phillips the daunting challenges of creating a work on so large a scale. “There were several moments in its genesis,” he wrote, “when some obstacles seemed almost insurmountable.” The sweeping forms, nacreous colors, and baroque light of Time and Timelessness provide a dramatic visual corollary to the central themes of the work: the nature of space and time, and the meaning of human endeavor. Commenting on the work, Tack stated, “My mind naturally turned to the meaning of a university. How could the vital principle or soul of a university be expressed abstractly? A university – the center from which springs the expansion and development of human minds reaching out far into fields of astronomical proportions as well as into infinitesimally small ranges of microscopic discovery, and to find some symbol of creation in eternity – or of Time and Timelessness, and of the magnificent achievement of human intelligence, made in the image and likeness of God, was the purpose and the problem.”

More Works by Augustus Vincent Tack In the Collection


Far Reaches
Augustus Vincent Tack
1930
Ideal Figure in Rose
Augustus Vincent Tack
not dated
Allegro Giocoso
Augustus Vincent Tack
before 1918

Night, Amargosa Desert
Augustus Vincent Tack
1935
Above the Treetops
Augustus Vincent Tack
between 1934 and 1936
Daybreak
Augustus Vincent Tack
between 1934 and 1936

Sketch for Portrait of Nicholas Murray Butler
Augustus Vincent Tack
not dated
Time and Timelessness (The Spirit of Creation)
Augustus Vincent Tack
between 1943 and 1944
Aspiration
Augustus Vincent Tack
1931