Richard Pousette-Dart - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Estate of the Artist
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Richard Pousette-Dart’s Blue Enstrata, 1984 envelops its viewers in an abstracted and enigmatic field of deep blue. From a distant perspective, the grand scale of the work, with its bright highlights and dark shadows, draws the viewer in with its depth and three-dimensionality. Spread across the canvas, the large geometric shapes emerge from the background and are interspersed by vibrant flecks of color. Upon closer inspection, the chalky impasto becomes beautifully apparent.

    Pousette-Dart’s application of bright pigments in short strokes evokes the Pointillist surfaces of modern masters Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. Indeed, Pousette-Dart has compared his paintings to analog photographs where one can see the “grain” of the image. In Pointillist paintings, similar to Pousette-Dart’s camera analogy, the individual “dots” of paint dissolve into the work, just as the black and white of a grainy gelatin silver print call attention to the flatness of the image. In masterpieces such as the present work, Pousette-Dart pushes the boundaries of this phenomenon by emphasizing the unique three-dimensionality of his painted surfaces.

    Pousette-Dart’s distinctive use of impasto showcases his association with “The Irascibles”, the legendary group of American Abstract Expressionists whose members included Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, all of whom explored the relationship between paint application and the support. Pousette-Dart describes this balance, which he expands to encapsulate his poetic approach to painting: “I strive to express the spiritual nature of the universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real” (Richard Pousette-Dart, quoted in Art in America, November-December, 1974).

Property from an Important East Coast Collection


Blue Enstrata

signed and dated "1984 R Pousette-Dart" on the reverse; further titled "Blue ENSTRATA Blue ENSTRATA" on the stretcher
acrylic on linen
40 x 80 in. (101.6 x 203.2 cm.)
Painted in 1984.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $275,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 14 November 2018