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ROBERT COLESCOTT (1925 - 2009) Down in the Dumps: So Long Sweetheart.
Acrylic on cotton canvas, 1983. 2135x1830 mm; 84x72 inches. Signed and dated in acrylic, upper right recto. Signed, titled and dated "Jan. 1983" in pencil on the stretcher bars, verso.
Provenance: Semaphore Gallery, New York; private collection (1984).
Exhibited: California Contemporary: Recent Work of Twenty Three Artists, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, 1983; Semaphore Gallery, New York, 1984; The Human Condition: SFMOMA Biennial III, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, June 28 - August 26, 1984; Robert Colescott: A Retrospective, 1975–1986, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, with the labels on the frame back, 1987-1989. This retrospective traveled to eight other museums including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the New Museum, New York and the Seattle Museum of Art.
Illustrated: Lowery S. Sims and Mitchell D. Kahan, Robert Colescott: A Retrospective, 1975–1986, rear cover.
This significant Colescott painting is a richly painted canvas from his mid-career that includes a self-portrait. Here the artist is being dumped at the foot of a dump - an enormous, teeming pile of all kinds of household objects. In her retrospective essays, Lowery Sims further connects Colescott's painting to art history - how his flattened and filled landscapes echo the pictorial space of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. The artist also created an alternate version with a woman standing in front of the dump, his parody of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World, called Christina's Day Off (Down in the Dumps II), 1983, which is now in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum. In this period of more personal imagery, Colescott never shies away from confronting social issues - Mitchell Kahan describes how in Colescott's painting "unfulfilled desire and jaded consumption are twin urges revolving in the same orbit." Sims/Kahan p. 7 and 26.