Philip Guston

Montreal, Canada, 1913 - Woodstock, New York, USA, 1980
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Black chalk on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Support: 45,5 x 58,5 cm
  • Category: 
    Work on paper, Drawing
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

In the 1950s, Philip Guston made his first pure line drawings, using the line as the vehicle for exploring the new expressive possibilities of figuration. His quickly-executed works granted him freedom of exploration, as they are open-ended structures in which the confrontation with the infinite possibilities of choice are a reflection of the chaos in which the artist's conscience perceives the system of everyday life. These works are the origin of the Poem-Pictures that the artist created for the poems written by his wife, Musa McKim. His intention was not to create an illustration for the poems, but rather to merge the two in order to compose the drawing in and of itself, understanding this to be a conceptual and formal experience. The new form was described by him as “words and pictures feeding off each other in unpredictable ways. Naturally there is no ‘illustration’ of text, yet I am fascinated by how text and image bounce into and off each other.” The artist proposes a poetic reading of the set of lines comprising the text and the drawing as the procedure for understanding its full visual meaning. The link established between drawing and poetry was from that time forward a fundamental element of his work and his way of understanding the world. It is the way that the artist “poemises” the material world surrounding him.

Ruth Gallego Fernández