Although many of his abstract works approximate mono-chromy, in his case the production of "a tightly covered, evenly and heavily textured rectangle of paint" did not, as Clement Greenberg had predicted it should, foment a "crisis of the easel picture
." For Delaney, it seems, the process of fixing a dense mass of materialized light on a relatively modest-size rectangle--the largest works here were roughly fifty-seven by forty-five inches--required intense concentration, something that was essential to what is most striking about his abstractions: In these works, a phenomenon that is purely and gloriously one of the senses alone--the evocation of light through color--is imbued with a sense of intense subjectivity, of aching inwardness.
For English-speakers, the word "decoration" has a pejorative flavor when it's used in relation to art, so much so that it's often qualified with a dismissive "mere." Yet the French term decoration has no such negative connotation; it simply signifies (among other things) art that ignores the conventional boundaries of the easel picture
to become an integral part of an architectural setting.
In an important and influential essay published in Partisan Review in 1948, Clement Greenberg reported "the crisis of the easel picture
." Such pictures, he claimed, are "a unique product of Western culture [with] few counterparts elsewhere"; he drew particular but passing attention to the fact that easel pictures
are portable and are meant to hang on walls, and that in consequence they are created in isolation from the particular architectural circumstances of their eventual display.
If photographs of Pollock's studio floor are the easy association here, Gift Box, 2013, likewise calls up the attendant midcentury critical hand-wringing about the fate of the easel picture
. An image of an open cardboard box ringed by layers of gossamer tissue paper, the painting literalizes the skirmish between illusionistic depth and surface texture or transparency.
Not only did they bring to the tradition of the easel picture
a richer and more complex command of experience than any that was within his own reach, but they had effectively transformed the content of the easel picture
to conform to the imperatives of that experience.
But if a premise of the show explored these artists' frank (if not always assiduous) challenges to the easel picture
, and to the standard of covering it in paint, the rubric of "Knitted and Sewn" addressed the continued priority of the organizing weave.
In the SMAK there were some examples of painting "expanded" beyond the easel picture
. Katharina Grosse covered the walls with cloudy color fields, while Olaf Nicolai's wall decoration with stripes of Pantone colors entertained a more conceptual dialogue with mural painting.
(8.)In his brief review of Pollock's 1943 show at Guggenheim's Art of This Century, Clement Greenberg had spoken disapprovingly of certain paintings veering between "the intensity of the easel picture
and the blandness of the mural." By 1947, however, he had assimilated Putzel's and Duchamp's vision of Pollock and would write in celebration of the fact that the artist "points a way beyond the easel, beyond the mobile, framed picture, the mural, perhaps--or perhaps not." See Clement Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism, ed.
To hear him talk, the caballete (easel) is the fascism of art, this monstrous little square of besmirched canvas, pullulating under the skin of rotting varnish, fit prey for those canny usurers, the speculating picture dealers of the rue de la Boetie and Fifty-Seventh Street." So when Clement Greenberg, in Partisan Review in 1948, warned of "the crisis of the easel picture
," he was more or less adapting a critical matrix from radical thought to the art of his time.
Most of her work consisted, however, of easel pictures
for the nobility and professional classes of Bologna, as well as for distinguished foreign collectors of Bolognese art.
"AT THE BEGINNING of the nineties, a war cry rang from one studio to another: `Away with easel pictures
! away with that unnecessary piece of furniture!' Painting was to come into the service of all the arts, and not be an end in itself.
Duncan (Grant) was, I remember, very thrilled when Jack Beddington commissioned a poster for Shell where, because printing had become more sophisticated, Duncan's designs could more closely resemble easel pictures