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Robert Ryman (1930-)






Oil on linen


Overall (Canvas): 69 1/2 × 69 1/2 in. (176.5 × 176.5 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President

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Beginning in the late 1950s, Robert Ryman gradually enlarged the scale of his work, and in 1962 he made a number of large paintings of roughly the same size, including this one. Ryman’s consistent use of white enables him to focus on the physical properties of his medium without the distraction and potential illusionism of color. But despite this practice, the artist has said that his paintings are not necessarily monochromatic. Indeed, the opaque white strokes of this untitled canvas only partially obscure the gemlike colors embedded within the paint matrix—unmixed shades of blue, yellow, orange, and several hues of green. Also visible through the paint layers is the warm hue of the burlap-colored linen support, particularly where the paint trails off on each side and, most clearly, at the bottom edge.

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