Green, Ochre, Maroon, 1969 signed, dated and titled 'Adolph Gottlieb / 1969' (on the reverse) oil on linen 48 x 60in (122 x 152.4cm)
PROVENANCE: Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome, Italy The Elliott and Harriet Goldstein Private Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia
EXHIBITED: Bergamo, Italy, Galleria Lorenzelliu, Adolph Gottlieb, May, 1970 Atlanta, Georgia, The High Museum of Art, Georgia Collects, January 24 - March 26, 1989, illus. p. 180
This work is recorded in the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation archives under catalogue number 6908.
Adolph Gottlieb's Burst paintings were his last great achievement. He described them in an interview in 1967:
"There was a different type of space (in these paintings) than I had ever used, and it was a further clarification of what I was trying to do. The thing that was interesting was that it was a return to a focal point, but it was a focal point with the kind of space that existed in traditional painting. Because it was like a solitary image or two images that were just floating in the canvas space. They had to hold the space, and they also had to create all the movement that took place within the rectangle."
Like numerous groundbreaking modernists, including Georgia O'Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, Gottlieb found inspiration in the desert Southwest. In 1937 he spent a year just outside of Tucson. The blazing sun over the mountains was no doubt an inspiration for these paintings, which he began in the early 1950's. Other references are to the atomic bomb and the post-war optimism just then taking hold in America.
This format, with its many deep cultural references, was the one Gottlieb would continue to develop and investigate until his death in 1974. The painting Green, Ochre and Maroon reveals the fruits of those many years of study and investigation. It is a particularly ambitious and complex canvas. It contains three pulsating round "burst" shapes, which float over a seismic base consisting of many intertwined shapes and symbols that revisit the artist's earlier Pictograph paintings.