Catalogue entry

T03094 THE ALCHEMIST 1945

Inscribed ‘ADOLPH GOTTLIEB’ top left
Oil on canvas, 28 × 35 5/16 (71 × 91)
Purchased from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation through the André Emmerich Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Exh:  Adolph Gottlieb, Gallery 67, New York, March 1945 (11); Fifth Anniversary Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by Members of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, September 1945 (19); Adolph Gottlieb: Pictographs 1941–53, André Emmerich Gallery, New York, March–April 1979 (5, repr.in colour)

Sandford Hirsch writes (letter of 15 September 1982) that the imagery, sources and titles of Gottlieb's Pictograph paintings such as this and ‘Labyrinth No.2’ ‘have been the subject of some debate and speculation from the time the Pictograph series began in 1941, and continuing to the present. My own opinion, which agrees with Gottlieb's, is that the imagery is intentionally allusive and open ended. It was Gottlieb's aim to present these mysterious and incomplete images in random order, to initiate a series of responses on the part of the viewer. Gottlieb did not want to predict nor limit the responses; my own experience has been that these paintings elicit a kind of reaction that changes and expands over a period of time. Gottlieb's later work was also geared toward this same type of active response on the part of the viewer.’ (Mr Hirsch is Administrator/ Curator of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984