Richard Pousette-Dart, Cosmos, 1950-51. Oil and graphite on board, 36 x 48 in. Courtesy of Knoedler Gallery. © 2010 Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“I strive to express the spiritual nature of the universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real.” – Richard Pousette-Dart
Exhibition titles are supposed to be exciting and alluring. They should make you go, “I have got to see this”, or at least, grab your attention for a second or two. The exhibition title for the current Pousette-Dart showing at The Phillips Collection is anything but that. Nothing about the phrase Predominantly White Paintings gets you jumping out of your chair, heading for the door (unless of course you are familiar with the artist’s work already). However, you may want to reconsider.
Richard Pousette-Dart is among the most celebrated abstract expressionists of the avant-garde New York, sharing the limelight with the likes of Pollock, Gorky, and de Kooning – a circle of artists that only a very few (of the very many) had the artistic merit and vision to join. During the early 1950’s, Pousette-Dart departed from his distinguished colorful paintings and arrived upon white, not a color, but simply a characteristic of light’s reflecting powers. Now, for the first time in over 50 years, twenty-five of Pousette-Dart’s Predominantly White Paintings are on display. And let me tell you, nothing about them is boring.