Morris Louis came from Baltimore (MICA class of '33), and now, thanks to a gift from his widow, more of his acclaimed abstract artworks are coming to town. If you've visited the BMA's Contemporary Wing over the past decade, you've no doubt seen his work, and these new acquisitions—two major paintings and 19 drawings—will be seen when the Wing (currently under renovation) reopens in the Fall and when the museum mounts an exhibition of its Louis holdings in 2013.
The paintings are particularly important pieces, and here's more on that from BMA press materials...
The two newly gifted Louis paintings are rare works from a pivotal period in Louis’ career, when he experimented with a more gestural and lushly painted approach than he employed to create his celebrated “veil” paintings. Those works, which Louis began making in 1954, feature overlapping layers of ethereal color created by pouring thinned Magna acrylic paint directly onto unprimed and unstretched canvas.
Silver III, 1953, a large-scale work of painterly abstraction with silver and red coloration and an application of paint that is varied and multidirectional, offers insight into the months leading up to the “veil” works, when Louis was experimenting with different kinds of paint and ways of applying it. Untitled 5-76, 1956, is a rare work from a period when Louis temporarily set aside his “veil” images to explore an exuberant palette and method of painting. A monumental painting with a palette of yellow, blue, and purple and a gestural application of paint that reflects the artist’s hand, the work is one of only approximately a dozen surviving paintings from this period in Louis’ career.