Patrick Henry Bruce created a series of still-life paintings from 1917-1930, including the oil on canvas piece titled “Painting” from c. 1921-22. This American cubist painter was influenced by Cézanne, Cubism, and the Orphic Cubism of Robert and Sonia Delaunay in his work. Overlapping blocklike forms with unmodulated blues, greens, lavenders, and reds create a rational stillness in contrast to Cubist still lifes by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
The painting measures 35 × 45 3/4in. (88.9 × 116.2 cm) and is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It marks Bruce’s departure from Cubism which gained negative associations during World War I as he moved towards a more organized style that used geometric shapes to deny realism while emphasizing formal relationships among objects.
Bruce’s “Painting” captures an essence that is not immediately recognizable but creates a sense of atmospheric depth through negative space and overlapping planes while also maintaining an intriguing composition for viewers to study closely.