Robert Jay Wolff



Not on display

Robert Jay Wolff 1905–1978
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1981 × 1016 mm
Presented by Thomas P. Whitney through the American Federation of Arts 1972

Catalogue entry

Robert Jay Wolff born 1905

T01530 Woodville 1967

Inscribed 'TOP [with an arrow] | R.J. Wolff | 67' on back of canvas
Oil on canvas, 78 x 40 (198 x 101.7)
Presented by Thomas P. Whitney through the American Federation of Arts 1972
Prov: Thomas P. Whitney, Washington, Connecticut (purchased from the artist for presentation)

The artist wrote the following statement about this work on 27 August 1973:

'"Woodville" 1967 is named for the section of Washington, Connecticut where I have lived and worked for the past twenty-one years. It is not even a village, just a place in the Berkshire hills where several country roads meet and cross. The painting is named Woodville only because it is where I painted it. Actually it had its real origins, along with all my work of the last ten years, on Cape Cod where with my wife Elizabeth and family we have spent the summer months. There is a special magic about the Cape particularly in the area near its northernmost tip with its unique quality of light and space that has always delighted and exhilarated me. I got into the habit each summer of making small studies in color for my winter's work in Connecticut where I would transform these summer reveries into paintings ...

'My obsession with the Cape centers in color associations - the forests of pine and scrub oaks, the sun on the pond at various times of the day, the fantastic dark colors of the night, the black-blues and black-greens and black-grays, and above all the moods of the day persisting into the evening and evening into night so that you get a kind of twenty-four hour simultaneity - the rising sun is indeed the setting sun, all within one never-beginning, never-ending extended moment. The visible tangibility of the whole twenty-four hours gives a new timelessness to everything and is reassuring. My paintings don't describe. In their own terms - with light and color - they are kind of icons to the experience I've tried to put in words here - midnight and midday combine into a single visual unity - stopping the senselessness of time as a past memory or a future anticipation - stopping the procession of here-now - now-gone moments, making them persist together in a marvelously alive extended instant of unity.'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.764-5, reproduced p.765

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