Adolph Gottlieb, ‘Mid Century Modernist Carpet ’, ca. 1950, Nazmiyal Collection

Mid Century Carpet by Artist Adolph Gottlieb, Country of origin: India, Circa: Mid- 20th Century – Artist Adolph Gottlieb was a pioneer of abstract art, particularly Abstract Expressionism with contemporaries Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. This carpet is a work in the “Burst” series initiated in the late 1950’s that continued until his death in 1974. Here, Gottlieb demonstrates how precise color and punctuated image express tension, emotion and energy. An orb in the upper third of the work countered by an undefined shape strategically placed in the lower portion define the imagery of the series, interpreted as the interplay of primeval contrasts: sun and earth, light and dark, male and female. Gottlieb often used the combination of black and red to accentuate contrasts. Here, the orb in the top portion of the carpet rendered in orange, red and brown shines with an eerie glow. The dense black shape below emits no light. Spatters of black spray outward from the edges of the mass across the solid red field, which is darkest around the orb and subtly lightens as it approaches the bottom of the Adolph Gottlieb art rug.

Image rights: Nazmiyal Collection


About Adolph Gottlieb

Recognized as one of the originators of Abstract Expressionism, painter Adolph Gottlieb drew on mythological and tribal symbols as well as Surrealism to create works that emphatically broke with American Regionalism. Gottlieb’s pictographs possessed primitivist qualities, featuring shapes evocative of cave drawings. His later paintings, such as the well-known Brink from 1959, often employed circular motifs and thick, gestural brushstrokes, which were an integral part of the development of Color Field painting.

American, 1903-1974, New York, New York