Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)
Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)
Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel, sold to benefit the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation
Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)

Bastille Day

Details
Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974)
Bastille Day
signed, titled and dated 'Adolph Gottlieb "BASTILLE DAY" 1961' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
48 x 72 in. (121.9 x 182.9 cm.)
Painted in 1961.
Provenance
Martin Friedman, Minneapolis, gift of the artist, 1963
Pace Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the late owners, 1992
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Brought to you by

Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan

Lot Essay

Consisting of perfect syntheses of color fields, orbs and gestural abstraction, Adolph Gottlieb’s Bursts are some of the greatest contributions to the history of art. Bastille Day is a serene yet cheerful “imaginary landscape” composed of circular orbs of burgundy and grey floating in a mixture of cyan and ultramarine blue.

Gottlieb’s Burst Paintings represented the apex of his career as an artist, which he began in 1957 and continued until he died in 1974. Burst paintings were the ultimate accentuation of Gottlieb’s reputation as a master colorist. These compositions not only constantly played with complementary opposite pairs, such as stillness and smoothness, but also combined the dramatic gestures of action painting; light and dark; day and night. Gottlieb’s compositions were the perfect development of myriad color gradations combining in the canvas, while still being able to appear harmonious.

As a young man, Adolph Gottlieb lived in Paris in 1921, where he took drawing classes and frequently visited the Louvre. His short stay in Paris and travels around Europe most likely had an influence on his later painting, Bastille Day. Le jour de la Bastille, July 14th, dates back to the storming of the Bastille, the pinnacle of the French Revolution. The conquering of the Bastille, a medieval armory fortress, where inmates were held prisoners for being against Louis XIV’s absolute monarchic mandate, entailed a landmark day not only for France, but for the entire world.

The vivid colors Gottlieb chose for Bastille Day enliven the composition, the bright and vibrant shades of blues, reds and greys offering an intense counterpoint to some of his more somber color palettes. The artist uses color here with great success to define a lively and multilayered surface engaging all the elements of his composition. As such, the painting radiates energy, but an energy that is both cooler and brighter because of its upbeat multicolored surface.

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