Conflict

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Adolph Gottlieb

American, 1903 - 1974

Conflict, 1966

  • On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 72 × 90 in. (182.9 × 228.6 cm)
Framed: 73 1/2 × 91 1/2 in. (186.7 × 232.4 cm)

Purchase Prize, First Flint Invitational, 1966.23

Adolph Gottlieb was a first-generation Abstract Expressionist and an important member of what came to be known as the New York School. Throughout his career, Gottlieb's art moved toward simplification, with a reduction of images into their purest forms. In 1952, Gottlieb began his Imaginary Landscapes series: horizontal paintings divided in the center in which solid shapes—circles, squares, and half-moons—float above a chaotic but contained mass of scribbles. Conflict is a perfect example of this series. Simple shapes in primary colors, along with black, float above what at first glance may appear to be a tangled black mass. Upon closer inspection a broken peace sign is visible amongst the brushwork, which is additionally accented with small, repeated yellow and red shapes. Placed against a clean white background, the juxtaposition of opposing marks speaks volumes. “Dualism is the pervasive theme of Gottlieb’s art,” noted Martin Friedman in a 1963 catalogue essay, “and his painting is the eloquent resolution of conflicting forces and emotions.”

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