A key figure in the history of late-20th-century abstraction, Jules Olitski experimented ceaselessly with materials and techniques in the context of so-called color field painting. Whereas his work had previously featured reductive, austere surfaces (often achieved through staining or spraying pigment onto his canvas), Bronze Emperor 6 appears, by comparison, exuberant and painterly, its impasto paint applied almost like cake frosting. Olitski retained a restrained, nearly monochromatic palette, and, in so doing, produced a characteristically atmospheric, vaguely spatial effect. The word “Bronze” denotes not only the general tonality of Olitski’s palette but also the material typically used to commemorate important individuals. The canvas’s vertical orientation and considerable dimensions also suggest a formidable presence, underscored by the word “Emperor” in the title.
abstract; texture; monochrome
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