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         PHILIP GUSTON     
         1913–1980

philip guston

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Often described as an Abstract Impressionist because of the quasi-lyrical nature of his abstractions, Philip Guston worked in a series of ever-changing styles. He started as a figurative painter working on murals for the Works Progress Administration's Queensbridge housing project in New York in the late 1930s. Several years later, Guston turned to easel painting, and progressively his work became less representational. By the 1950s he was working in a purely abstract style. Late in his career, Guston returned to figurative painting. His critics were horrified by his primitive, almost cartoonlike style, calling it an affected and feeble move toward Pop Art and a mocking of Abstract Expressionism. In the October 1970 issue of ARTnews, however, Guston defended his change, saying, "I got sick and tired of all that Purity! [I] wanted to tell Stories."

Arthur Swoger (born 1912)
Gelatin silver print, 1957
Published December 1959
ARTnews Collection, New York City
(Printable page)

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