Philip GustonHat 1976

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Artwork details

Philip Guston (1913‑1980)
Date 1976
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 2032 x 2921 mm
Acquisition Presented by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of a private collector 1996
Not on display

Technique and condition

The picture is painted on a commercially primed linen canvas, which is made from linen thread, of a plain weave giving a smooth finish. It's priming is a cool off white, applied in a smooth, even layer.

Guston's preferred practice of tacking 'up a canvas on the wall, I never paint on an easel', is confirmed in this painting by the old staple marks on the canvas edges, now folded round the back of the stretcher, and the dripped paint marks along the bottom tacking edge. Ruled pencil marks are also evident in places on the tacking edges, indicating the rectangle the artist worked within very precisely.

The three main layers of oil paint varied in density and viscosity. For the first layer he took a thinned down opaque grey mixture and applied it largely unmodulated to the drawn out rectangle, as a sort of undercoat. The design began to emerge with the second painting. Painted predominantly in black and two shades of pinky red, the paint was applied thickly but fluidly with broad brushes. For this final layer he extended his range of colours to include an orange, green, blue and white which he applied vigorously using a variety of broad and narrow brushes often intermixing the colours as he worked wet in wet across the whole canvas… (read more)

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