Allan Stone Gallery, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Murray Kaplan, New York (acquired from the above in 1964)
Private Collection, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above
California, Pasadena Art Museum, Wayne Thiebaud, February – March 1968, cat. no. 36
Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hayden Gallery, Contemporary Views of Man, September – October 1971
In 1963, Wayne Thiebaud decisively digressed from the confectionary concerns of the years prior and turned his creative focus to the formalist concerns of the human figure. He undoubtedly realized the weight of this undertaking, armed with a conviction that an artist's capacity to handle the figure served as a barometer for an artist's very ability once stating, "I think it's the most important study there is and the most challenging and the most difficult." (Exh. Cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Wayne Thiebaud, p. 103). Elusive to the market in light of the few figurative works produced still in private hands, Supine Woman, renders a young woman whose physical carriage conveys a literality that at once embraces the austerity and simplicity, aspects at the fundamental heart of Modernism. He poignantly directs the viewer's attention to the woman's inscrutable yet focused expression through a calculated absence of a visual narrative, forcing the viewer to engage with her embedded supine psychology.
A grand corollary to Thiebaud's preoccupation with the formalist concerns of the picture plane and perspective is his longstanding affair with color. His impossible signature blue grey shadows endow his figure with depth, conferring a perspectival edict to his formalist and modernist visual declaration. Her dress mimics the same painterly achromatic hue that frames her, and yet the suggestion of flesh and life are palpable in her rose hued face and extended legs and hands. It is not Thiebaud's intention to present the viewer with an obvious emotional state, and the painting is in fact a psychological tome; a visual dissertation opulently painted and calculated to the point of physically splendid and mesmerizing aesthetic psychosis.
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