Catalogue entry

T02052 UNTITLED 2/72 1972

Inscribed ‘No2/72 80 × 114-/3/72 Jeremy Moon’ on the upper turnover of canvas with an arrow indicating the top
Acrylic on canvas, 80 × 114 (203 × 289)
Purchased from the Rowan Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1976
Exh: Jeremy Moon, Rowan Gallery, May 1973 (no catalogue); Jeremy Moon, Paintings and Drawings 1962–73, Serpentine Gallery, April 1976, City Art Gallery, Manchester, May–June 1976, Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, June–July 1976 (34)

This painting was finished in March 1972 and was the second completed painting out of the six made in that year. The artist's illustrated record of his paintings shows it to be one of three paintings finished in the first part of that year, all with similar proportions: 84 × 104, 80 × 114, 90 × 120in. The later three were diamond shaped with a square of colour in the centre of each. The three rectangular works all involve vertical and horizontal stripes, though in the other two the emphasis is on the verticals, with lines rather than bands of paint.

Alex Gregory-Hood told the compiler that the artist ‘was very satisfied with the “bands” round the edges of the painting. He thought that he had got completely right the positioning and breadths of these bands, so that they really activated the central space of the work.’ These bright pink bands are each the same width as their distance out from the edge of the painting, and are 1 3/4, 3 1/2, 5 and 7 7/8in wide respectively. The large open central area of orange is also one of the key features of the work. It relates to the diamond shaped canvases of the same year and in a more general way to several of the paintings of the mid-1960's.

Numerous drawings related to ‘2/72’ still exist (coll. Beth Moon) which were made around the same time as the painting. According to Beth Moon the artist drew continuously at all times of the day, though not while he was actually working on a painting, and he never threw away even the smallest sketch or scrap of paper. These drawings (described in Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1972–4. p.200) give an idea of the artist's progression towards a painting and clarify the way in which he thought about several possible works simultaneously. Once finally decided, he only painted one work at a time. Several sheets of line drawings show variants of ‘2/72’ next to variants of the other rectangular 1972 paintings, and they tend to emphasise the similarity of these works: i.e. they are all concerned with grids, one of Moon's principal pre-occupations, the relationship between vertical and horizontal stripes. Two more finished coloured drawings, both dated 13/12/71, show a yellow-orange background with different numbers of pink and mauve stripes.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1976-8: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1979