Morris Louis (American, 1912–1962)
Acrylic on canvas
102 1/2 x 177 in. (260.4 x 449.6 cm)
Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1967 (67.232)
I started thinking about Morris Louis lately because I have a vague recollection of a story of him destroying his early canvases after he found his voice in the paintings like Alpha-Pi (below) and his Veil paintings which are the works that we know him by. As a painter, my ultimate goal is to find a unique visual voice but I think it is impossible to get there without experimenting and learning to work with paint and styles that may not always feel so original. Knowing that other artists end up places that are different from where they started is encouraging and I can’t help but think how interesting it would be to see the progression Louis went through if his older works still existed.
I also like how he ended up staining the canvas rather than painting on it with a brush. It makes me remember to experiment with other techniques that might not feel so familiar and comfortable.