Philip Guston
Head I 1965

Artwork details

Philip Guston 1913–1980
Head I
Date 1965
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1828 x 1981 x 30 mm
Acquisition Presented by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of a private collector 1996
Not on display

Display caption

A dark shape, suggestive of a head, emerges from a grey background. Guston referred to this and other paintings made in the early 1960s as ‘dark pictures’ and also as ‘erasures’. As he explained, ‘I use white pigment and black pigment. The white pigment is used to erase the black I don’t want and so becomes grey. Working with these restricted means as I do now, other things open up which are unpredictable, such as atmosphere, light, illusion - elements which do seem relevant to the image but have nothing to do with colour.’

July 2012