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Morris Louis (American, 1912-1962)

Paintings

Biography:
Morris Louis Bernstein (professionally known as Morris Louis) was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1928. He spent most of his artistic career separated from the New York art world, and while living in Washington, D.C., formed a movement alongside painters such as Kenneth Noland that is known today as the Washington Color School. As one of the leading figures of Color Field painting, highly championed by the critic Clement Greenberg, Morris Louis pioneered a movement which influenced the next generation of post-painterly abstractionists. Similar to his contemporary painters, Louis explored the definition of art by eliminating any illusion or symbolic representation and reverting to the purity of materials. The infamous technique employed by Louis throughout his career, was the method of staining, which involved pouring thinned Magna paint (an acrylic resin) on unstretched and unprimed canvas, allowing the paint to take its own course and soak through the canvas. The result is almost ethereal, serving as a perfect simile to the theme of his series entitled Veils. Just like a veil simultaneously covers and reveals a surface, the paint does the same. During the part of his career in which he gained a reputation that lasted only five years, he created close to 600 paintings (with about 400 being mural-sized), all done in his small 12-by-14 foot home studio.

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