Morris Louis (American, 1912–1962)

Country of Origin USA
Magna on canvas
105 x 202 in. (266.7 x 513.1 cm)
Credit Line:
The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 2006
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 1960 Morris Louis
  • Description

    Morris Louis, a native of Baltimore, became part of a group of Washington, D.C. painters in the mid-1950s known for their use of bright, modern colors and washes of synthetic paint. Theirs was an innovative technique likely learned during a 1953 visit to the New York studio of Helen Frankenthaler, where Louis and his colleagues were exposed to Frankenthaler's method of staining her canvases with thinned-down pigments, giving a sense of soaked or stained color where medium and support were often indiscernible from each other. Louis's series of purely abstract works include the Unfurleds (1959-61), of which the present work is an example, wherein streaks of bold pigment, poured at angles to the bottom corners of the support, leave a large area of raw, unembellished canvas at center.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: (Estate number Morris Louis 58)

  • Provenance

    André Emmerich Gallery, New York, by 1963; Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman, Chicago, purchased from Emmerich, November 1963 - her gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.

  • Exhibition History

    Morris Louis, 1912-1962: Memorial Exhibition. Paintings from 1954-1960, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, September-October 1963, exh. cat. by Lawrence Alloway, n.p., no. 17, ill.

    An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 21-September 27, 1981, exh. cat by William S. Lieberman, pp. 16, 98, 99 (ill.),155.

    Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 18, 2007 - February 3, 2008, exh. cat. edited by Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal, no. 57, pp. 184-185 (ill.), 186 (essay by David Anfam).

  • References

    Michael Fried, "Some Notes on Morris Louis," Arts Magazine, vol. 38, no. 2, November 1963, pp. 22, 24 (ill.).

    Robert Rosenblum, "Morris Louis at the Guggenheim Museum," Art International, vol. 7, no. 9, December 5, 1963, pp. 26, 27 (ill. pl. 6).

    Daniel Robbins, "Morris Louis at the Juncture of Two Traditions," Quadrum (Brussels), vol. 18, 1965, p. 50 (ill.).

    Judith Goldman, "Collecting in Chicago: Love Affairs with Art," Artnews, vol. 78, no. 2, February 1979, p. 49.

    Alice Hess, "Great Private Collections: A Chicago Visionary," Saturday Review, vol. 7, no. 14, October 1980, pp. 3, 72-75 (ill.).

    Grace Glueck, "Met is Given a $12 Million Art Collection," New York Times, December 10, 1980, p. 21.

    Hilton Kramer, "Modernist Show Moves Met Firmly into Art of 20th Century," New York Times, May 22, 1981, p. C21.

    Diana Loercher-Pazicky, "The Newman Bequest," Connaissance des Arts (U.S. ed.), no. 19, August 1981, p. 17 (ill.).

    And French ed. of the above: Diana Loercher-Pazicky, "Une donation bienvenue," Connaissance des Arts, no. 354, August 1981, p. 21 (ill.).

    Theodore F. Wolff, "The Many Masks of Modern Art" Christian Science Monitor, April 13, 1982, p. 20 (ill.).

    Diane Upright, Morris Louis: The Complete Paintings, A Catalogue Raisonné (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1985), no. 401, pp. 170 (ill.), 224.

    William Agee, "Muriel Kallis Newman: Life Among the Moderns," Architectural Digest, December 1986, p. 70.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History