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Anne Truitt



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Anne Truitt’s hallmark polychrome columns are associated with developments in both abstract painting and Minimalist art of the 1960s, the latter label being one she never fully accepted. Unlike her contemporaries, such as Donald Judd, who aimed to purge their works of subject matter or feeling, Truitt explored a combination of abstraction and personal references, attempting, as she put it, “to get maximum meaning in the simplest possible form.” Truitt had the columnar infrastructure of Prima fabricated, but she transformed it through the hand-painted application of non-primary colors in a way that further distinguishes the work from the industrial look of Minimalism. Standing at just under seven feet tall, the column is covered in horizontal bands of pale blue, light yellow, and orange hues. The proportions of the bands mimic the tripartite division of the human body: head, torso, feet. In applying a human stamp to her otherwise streamlined form Truitt assumed a daring position during a period when emotions and external references were largely banished from abstract art. [Permanent Collection Label, 2023]

  • Artist Anne Truitt (American, 1921–2004)
  • Title Prima
  • Date 1978
  • Medium Acrylic on wood
  • Dimensions unframed | 80 1/2 x 7 7/8 x 8 1/4 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold Joseph, 1998
  • Object number WU 1998.11
  • Currently on View James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 2

Gesture, Scrape, Combine, Calculate: Postwar Abstraction from the Permanent Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/20/2010 - 09/20/2010

Dr. & Mrs. Harold Joseph

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