The Studio (1969) by Philip Guston

The Studio - Philip Guston - 1969

Artwork Information

TitleThe Studio
ArtistPhilip Guston
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions48 x 42 in.
Art MovementNeo-Expressionism
Current LocationCollection Musa Guston

About The Studio

“The Studio,” created by artist Philip Guston in 1969, is an oil on canvas painting that embodies characteristics of the Neo-Expressionism art movement. As a genre painting, it measures 48 x 42 inches and is part of Guston’s “Klansmen” series. The artwork is housed in the Collection Musa Guston.

The artwork presents a figurative scene dominated by a rosy pink hue, suffused throughout the composition. The central figure is depicting one of Guston’s iconic motifs, a character resembling a Klansman, seated at an easel within a painterly environment. The character’s pointed hood and robe sharply contrast with the red, gloved hand that delicately holds a paintbrush to a canvas, underscoring the incongruity of the scene. The painting within the painting is itself a simplified Klansman figure, further reflecting the unsettling theme of the series.

Flanking the figure are studio implements: a plethora of brushes protruding from a can and a palette daubed with paint splotches, which stand on what appears to be a table. In the background, a clock and a bare light bulb hang from a wooden beam, adding a sense of place and temporal reference to the scene. There is a feeling of claustrophobia, engendered by the enclosing walls, which also features a green-framed window.

The choice of composition and subject matters in the artwork intentionally blurs the distinction between the banality of the studio setting and the charged symbolism of the Klansmen, creating a tension that was characteristic of Guston’s provocative and transitionary period of the late 1960s. Through this juxtaposition, Guston appears to confront themes of identity, artistic creation, and the underlying darkness of the human condition.

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