In 1951, prominent Abstract Expressionist painter Adolph Gottlieb began working on the series Imaginary Landscapes. The series started after a period of transition for the artist, as he approached ways of merging the ideas of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.
In Green Foreground, Gottlieb created an image that simultaneously functions as both an abstract composition and a visionary landscape. By splitting the image in two, the artist alludes to a horizon line while still presenting a flat image. There is no illusion of space; instead, each shape hovers on the same plane. The colors and imaginary terrain are reminiscent of his surroundings in Arizona, an area where Gottlieb lived for a brief period later in life.
The Essence of Form, on view Saturday, February 17, features works on paper from the Museum’s permanent collection, such as Green Foreground, that signify the exciting advances in American and international art as artists embraced non-representational imagery to evoke emotions or to explore purely formal concerns such as shapes and colors.