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Oil painting - Blast


  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    New York (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1960 (Painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gottlieb, Adolph, born 1903 - died 1974 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 68, box R

Blast is one of a series of works made by Gottlieb beginning in 1957 and commonly known as Bursts. Intended to signify the fundamental conflicts present in myth - conflicts that as philosopher Carl Gustav Jung suggests, are also present in the individual personality. In Blast the polarities are not specifically identified. A sphere hovers over a more mercurial component, in terms of a person, perhaps alluding to the dominance of reason; the geometric, and therefore conscious, above the unconscious. The opposition of red and black may allude to life contrasted with death, according to the conventional colour symbolism of the New York Colour Field painters, of whom Gotlieb was one. Here the colours are austerely formulated according to principles first stated in a 1943 letter by Gotlieb and fellow Colour Field artist Mark Rothko, published in the New York Times: 'We favour the simple expression of the complex thought.'

Physical description

'Blast' is intended to signify the fundamental conflicts present in myth-conflicts that (Jung suggested) are present in the individual personality.

Place of Origin

New York (probably, made)


1960 (Painted)


Gottlieb, Adolph, born 1903 - died 1974 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Adolph Gottlieb 1960'
Signed and dated by the artist


Height: 78.7 cm approx., Width: 56.5 cm approx.

Object history note

Purchased, 1966

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Blast' by Adolph Gottlieb. USA, 1960.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum. London: V&A, 1985, p.210


Oil paint; Paper


Oil painting




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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