By Robert Storr
That Guston was not only a brilliant painter and a fearless innovator, but also a humanist who rejected easy answers about both painting and life, is made admirably clear by Robert Storr's perceptive text.
The story of Philip Guston's life is, in many ways, a chronicle of the ideas and events that transformed American painting in this century. Having been a muralist in the 1930s, by the 1940s Guston had turned away from public art to explore a more private vision. These haunting tableaux gave way in the 1950s to shimmering abstractions that represent one of the most poetic contributions to Abstract Expressionism.
In the last and most important decade of his life, Guston's work changed yet again, as he invented bizarre, cartoonlike characters to enact monstrously comic fantasies. This abrupt shift from abstraction to figuration enraged the art establishment, but it also helped embolden a younger generation of artists to risk a new style of painting that became known as Neo-Expressionism.
About the Modern Masters series
With informative, enjoyable texts and over 100 illustrations--approximately 48 in full color--this innovative series offers a fresh look at the most creative and influential artists of the postwar era. The authors are highly respected art historians and critics chosen for their ability to think clearly and write well. Each handsomely designed volume presents a thorough survey of the artist's life and work, as well as statements by the artist, an illustrated chapter on technique, a chronology, lists of exhibitions and public collections, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Every art lover, from the casual museumgoer to the serious student, teacher, critic, or curator, will be eager to collect these Modern Masters. And with such a low price, they can afford to collect them all.