In 1969, the painting known as The Studio marked a shift in American painter Philip Guston’s works. Guston (1913–80) was from New York and had experimented with styles of painting since the 1930s. His well-known WPA style combined figuration by incorporating surrealism and social satire. However after the war, he moved away from his figurative approach and created abstract works known as “Abstract Impressionism”.
The Studio depicts an artist standing in a paint splattered studio surrounded by everyday objects such as books, bottles, lamps, vases and painting forms every corner of the room. This painting is considered to be Guston’s transition back to his original approach while retaining his expressive streak present in abstract works.
After The Studio was released in 1969, it marked more developments in Guston’s artworks skills and later he would go on to produce one of his well-known paintings Talking (1979), where , numerous figures seem to share stories in muppet-like forms. Each figure has a unique hint of abstraction yet each contain recognisable features that invoke a sense of familiarity for viewers. Together these two milestones provide a strong illustration of decades worth of shifts within Philip Gustons’ artworks.