Morris Louis
Alpha-Phi 1961

Artwork details

Morris Louis 1912–1962
Date 1961
Medium Acrylic paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2591 x 4597 mm
Acquisition Presented by Mrs Marcella Louis Brenner, the artist's widow, through the American Federation of Arts 1968
Not on display

Display caption

After the 'veil' paintings (see 'VAV' in this room), Louis developed his pouring technique in a series of works known as the 'unfurleds'. 'Alpha-Phi' belongs to this series. In these works Louis poured lines of pure colour across the bottom corners of the painting, leaving the centre bare. This became known as the 'one-shot' technique because the artist had only one attempt at a successful pour. If the line went astray there was no second chance. These lines stress the painting's flatness, leading the eye across and out of its surface. This again denies any reading of the painting as an image to be looked into, and insists on its reality as non-representative object.

September 2004