Philip Guston, ‘Ancient Rock, Ostia’, 1971, Sotheby's: Contemporary Art Day Auction

The Guston Foundation confirms that this work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Philip Guston.

From the Catalogue

"In Guston’s images these shapes [a square, a triangle, and a circle] masquerade as pines, hedges, topiary trees, hooded heads, bare bald heads, boulders, hewn stones, tablets, clocks wheels, and so on in a ceaseless metamorphic series emanating from each of these primary iconographic emblems. Together, they constitute the DNA of Guston’s art, the code that engendered its myriad mutations yet guaranteed its formal as well as symbolic integrity. In these three shapes East meets West, Sengai’s magisterial reductionism meets Leon Battista Alberti’s mastery of complexity, Cage and Feldman meet de Chirico and Picasso, and the universe in all its transformational potential became accessible to a brooding yet playful artist whose ambition was to hold together contradictions that overwhelmed or frightened away so many of his peers while claiming for himself an unlimited license to make old things new."—Robert Storr in Peter Benson Miller, Ed., Go Figure! New Perspectives on Guston, New York 2015, p. 15

Courtesy of Sotheby's

Signature: signed, dated '71, and inscribed ROMA; signed and titled on the reverse

Rome, Museo Carlo Bilotti - Aranciera di Villa Borghese; Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Philip Guston, Roma, May 2010 - May 2011, cat. no. 31, p. 189, illustrated in color

Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1997

About Philip Guston

Best known for his cartoonish paintings and drawings from the late 1960s onwards, Philip Guston audaciously returned to figuration at the height of Abstract Expressionism. Guston created a lively cast of characters rendered in bold brushwork—sinister, hooded figures reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan; cyclopean heads; and disembodied limbs. Seemingly mundane objects, such as bare light bulbs, shoes, cigarettes, and bricks were also imbued with personal meaning. A muralist with the government-funded Federal Art Project in the 1930s, an Abstract Expressionist in the 1950s and ‘60s, and a figurative painter in the last decades of his life, Guston is regarded as a leading figure in the creation of a new style of painting known as Neo-Expressionism.

American, 1913-1980, Montreal, Canada, based in New York, New York