Rho I

Rho I

1977

Jack Whitten

(American, 1939-2018)

Acrylic on canvas

Unframed: 182.8 x 213.2 cm (71 15/16 x 83 15/16 in.)

Gift of Scott C. Mueller and Margaret Fulton Mueller 2010.1

Fun Fact

This is part of Whitten’s “Greek Alphabet” series where he completely removed color from his works to see how black and white can work together—both artistically and politically.

Description

Whitten is a crucial member of artists who championed “process” in the 1970s, creating artworks that openly reveal how they were created, rather than concealing how they were made. Whitten would lay his canvas on his studio floor, apply the paint, and pull a developer (items ranging from hair picks to sheet metal) across the surface of the painting, revealing the multiple layers of paint below as well as an impression of the studio floor and any scraps that may have been left or placed beneath the canvas. Despite his prolific output and lengthy exhibition record, Whitten long went under-recognized until the past decade when scholars began to note the similarity between Whitten’s paintings and those made over a decade later by Gerhard Richter.

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