Beta Tau
Date 1961
Medium Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions 261.5 x 498.5 x 4 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-345
From 1929 to 1933, Morris Louis studied at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts. In 1952 he moved to Washington, D.C. In 1953, Louis visited Helen Frankenthaler’s studio in New York, along with his friend Kenneth Noland, and began working with colour field painting. Louis destroyed a number of his works from the period between 1955 and 1957. He gained a certain renown with his Veils in 1958 and 1959. Morris Louis belonged to the generation of American artists following the movement of abstract expressionism. From 1953 on, he focused his studies on colour and its absorption by canvas. The Unfurled series, together with the Stripes from near the end of his life, comprise about 150 works. The Unfurleds are works in a very large format, created with coloured paint (Magna, acrylic base), with the centre left blank. Louis’s technique is one of ‘cropping’: placing a work on canvas, bit by bit, then a final framing. Along with Frank Stella and Anthony Caro, he was the painter who provided the starting point for the critic Michael Fried’s approach in his Art and Objecthood (1967). J-FC