History And Context


For Approach, D.C.-based artist Morris Louis worked from a ladder at the top of his stretcher where canvas was loosely attached. He directed matte and glossy colors in successive and overlapping layers, draining excess paint off of the bottom edge. The result is an array of transparent and opaque stripes, a form that he explored again and again. Irregular marks can be seen at the edge of the canvas, where paint dripped from its container. Louis initially thought to crop these marks, but famous art critic Clement Greenberg dissuaded him. The position of the stripe stack, slightly off-center, weighted at the bottom, was determined when the painting was stretched, and introduced the idea of asymmetry to this series, as well as emphasizing the active role of the unpainted canvas. When asked if his paintings had a distinct top or bottom, Louis replied: “It doesn’t matter.”

More Works by Morris Louis In the Collection


Approach
Morris Louis
1962
Blue Column
Morris Louis
1960
Drawing [D287]
Morris Louis
1953

Drawing [D88]
Morris Louis
1948
Drawing [D182]
Morris Louis
1950
Drawing [D348]
Morris Louis
between 1950 and 1953

Number 182
Morris Louis
1961
Seal
Morris Louis
1959