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Blue Column

Morris Louis ( 1960 )

Collection item 1993.008.0001
  • Period Twentieth-Century
  • Materials Acrylic on canvas
  • Object Number 1993.008.0001
  • Dimensions 80 x 22 in.; 203.2 x 55.88 cm
  • Credit Line Gift of Philip M. Stern, Washington, D.C., 1993

Morris Louis refined his painting methods considerably in the last three years of his life. During this time, he achieved a delicate balance between gesture and color in the Florals (1959–1960) and then his sparer Columns”(1960). In Blue Column (1960), for example, he directed paint in a controlled vertical channel, or poured it from the canvas’s outer edges as in the larger Unfurleds (1960–61). Critic Clement Greenberg described Louis’s work as “being soaked in paint rather than merely covered by it….The effect conveys a sense not only of color somehow disembodied, and therefore more purely optical, but also of color as a thing that opens and expands the picture plane.” Blue Column’s rich spectrum of color (from the deepest midnight blue to the cool aqua of the waters of the Caribbean) is a stellar example of his intense saturation technique.