Marcia Hafif - New Now New York Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Born in 1929 in Pomona, California, Marcia Hafif began studying art in the 1950’s after teaching grade school for nearly a decade. Having studied Renaissance art and architecture prior to visiting Rome for the first time in 1961, Hafif was quickly inspired by her surroundings to practice painting herself. 176. December 1967 is an iconic image from the artist’s Italian Paintings series executed between 1961 and 1969. Marked by the differences between European and American lifestyles, Hafif would embrace her interest in Italian art fully; not only did she take on the new practice of painting, but she would also have her first solo exhibition in 1964 at Galleria La Salita in Rome. After numerous successful shows abroad and upon her return in the United States, her inclusion in the MoMA PS1’s Abstract Painting: 1960–1969 in 1983 brought her international acclaim. Hafif has since exhibited at major institutions, including the Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, the Laguna Art Museum and MAMCO, Geneva.

      "[...] I began using a single color and digging into it and making a kind of radiating form, treating it plastically rather than as flat. I would literally move the paint so that it was thicker in some parts. So what you’re seeing is the light, shadow, and so on. I think I was moving away from painting towards something more three-dimensional, without crossing over into sculpture."—Marcia Hafif

    Carmen Herrera, Rondo (Blue and Yellow), 1965 © Carmen Herrera.

     In 176. December 1967, the symmetrical curves suggest the outline of a body bathed in a yellow background. The ambiguous relationship between the two hues in 176. December 1967 harkens back to what the artist calls “Pop-Minimal” painting. Celebrating the aesthetics of minimalism, Hafif’s technique of delineation predates much of the praised work of her male counterparts. Other minimal artists such as Carmen Herrera have also been historically overlooked, and they too are inspired by the raw power of abutting colors within a single composition. Hafif’s 2018 exhibition at Pomona College, where she had enrolled as an undergraduate student in 1947, included over one hundred works by the artist. Marcia Hafif’s works are housed in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, among others.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Art & Public, Geneva
      Galerie Edieuropa, Rome
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Geneva, Galerie Art & Public, Marcia Hafif - peintures des années soixante: Italie, December 9, 1999–January 29, 2000
      Geneva, MAMCO, Marcia Hafif - Italian Paintings 1961–1969, cycle Vivement 2002!, quatrième épisode, February 21–April 29, 2001
      New York, CHART, Reductive Seduction, May 2–June 29, 2019

    • Literature

      Éric de Chassey, Marcia Hafif: La période romaine / Italian Paintings, 1961–1969, pp. 115, 136 (illustrated, p. 115; MAMCO, Geneva, 2001 installation view illustrated, p. 136)


176. December 1967 from the series Italian Paintings

signed, titled and dated "HAFIF DEC 1967 176" on the stretcher
oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in. (60 x 60 cm)
Painted in 1967.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $35,280

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen
Head of Sale, New Now
212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2022