Quaytman, Harvey (American, 1937-2002)
Untitled – Geometric Abstract Black and White
Charcoal, acrylic and dry pigment on paper
Signed and dated lower right: Harvey Quaytman ’66
McKee Gallery, NYC label on verso
40.5in h x 26.25in w Sheet
• An Important Main Line, PA Collection
• Acquired from McKee Gallery, New York, NY 6 March 2014
Originally from Rockaway, New York, Harvey Quaytman moved to New York City during the 1960s, a time when the art scene was undergoing a radical transformation. As a young artist, Quaytman was originally inspired by abstract expressionist painters like Williem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky, however in the mid to late 1960s, Quaytman’s style evolved into geometric abstraction. Quaytman’s work from this period, including the current piece dated 1966, highlights the young artist’s interest in geometric shapes, gesture, and movement- a theme he focused on throughout his prolific career. Striped down to basic geometric shapes and hard-edge lines, the current work gives a sense of movement that harken back to Cubism. The composition’s simple graceful lines and bold geometry invites the viewer in for closer observation. Upon first glance, the bold black shape appears to be a solid hue, but upon more intimate viewing, and a glimpse of color emerges- from a touch of blue and subtle arced red line, as well as a drip of yellow pigment below. A hint of layered paint and texture is also evident in the grayish-white field, a technique that Quaytman’s later style is also celebrated for.
Referring to himself as a “classical modernist,” Quaytman later style pushed artistic boundaries with large curved-shaped canvases with bold monochromatic colors and textured paints that he mixed with rust or glass. By the 1980s, he abandoned the shaped canvases, and returned to square and rectangular picture planes, and eventually started working in a cruciform shape. Over the course of his career, he had over sixty solo exhibitions, including in New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo. His work is found in museum collections including, the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Tate Gallery, London, UK; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Harvard Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.