Morris Louis - Abstract by Nature: Paintings from the 1950s to the Present New York Saturday, August 7, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Estate of the Artist, New York
    Prviate Collection
    Christie's New York, November, 2008, Private Sales
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, The Great Decade of American Abstraction: Modern Art 1960 to 1970, January15 - March 10, 1974, p. 24, no. 26 (illustrated)
    New York, Museum of Modern Art; Fort Worth Art Museum; Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Morris Louis, October 6, 1986 - July 26, 1987, p. 67 (illustrated)
    New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Morris Louis, October - December 2001, p. 31 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    M. Fried, Morris Louis, New York, 1970, pl. 171.
    D. Upright, Morris Louis: The Complete Paintings, A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1985, pp. 189 and 240, no. 629 (illustrated)

  • Artist Biography

    Morris Louis

    Exceptionally prolific yet meticulous over the course of his all-too-brief career, Morris Louis cemented a status as one of the most important proponents of Color Field Painting and one of the leaders of the Washington Color School. Working with such figures as Kenneth Noland and Sam Gilliam, Louis pioneered a greatly simplified form of abstraction that served as a stylistic conduit between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. By pouring greatly thinned washes of paint over the surface of unprimed canvas, Louis alternately achieved luminous, cheerful ribbons of color and an eerie and ethereal effect, marked by the use of chance and the participation of atmospheric elements such as gravity in the creation of his paintings.

    Louis developed his mature style after a visit with Noland to the New York studio of Helen Frankenthaler at the suggestion of critic Clement Greenberg, where he learned of Frankenthaler’s innovative soak-stain technique. He used this method to pioneer no fewer than three major mature series that can be characterized by their atmospheric intensity, psychological presences, and crisp, pristine mellifluousness. Louis succumbed to lung cancer in 1962 and was honored the following year with a posthumous exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the High Museum, Atlanta, and the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

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Number 1-99

signed, titled and dated "MORRIS LOUIS 1962 ML#1-99" on the stretcher
magna on canvas
78 3/4 x 75 in. (200 x 190.5 cm)
Painted in 1962.

Estimate On Request

Abstract by Nature: Paintings from the 1950s to the Present