Untitled, c. 1947

Mixed media collageexpand_more

Gift of Mary and Bob Merskyexpand_more  2023.102.5

Not on Viewexpand_more

In the early 1940s, Richard Pousette-Dart made a note to himself: “Mine is an abstract vision fired by mystic shapes not by description.” Even in childhood he was familiar with “primitive” art and had a desire to move beyond waking experience. Along with his older peers Jackson Pollock and Adolph Gottlieb, he investigated the potential of Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic theories, especially the collective unconscious and universal symbols.

In this untitled collage from 1947, Pousette-Dart integrated found materials and fragmented imagery, combining elements from popular culture, advertising, and historical and personal references, including a photograph of his wife and daughter. Embracing chance and unexpected associations, Pousette-Dart’s unconventional technique and use of everyday materials foreshadows the emergence of the Neo-Dada movement in the 1950s, led by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Alfred Leslie, and Jasper Johns.
In a blank-verse note of 1940, Pousette-Dart described the artist–art beholder nexus:

"Great art leaves half the creation to the onlooker, gives the key to a creative experience. Draws the spectator into infinite mysteries."

Artist Life
1916 - 1992
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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