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Image of Space Composition

Balcomb Greene
American, 1904–1990

Space Composition

1941, repainted 1970

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
Dimensions:
32 in. x 48 in. (81.28 cm x 121.92 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1974.0010

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase with the aid of a National Endowment for the Arts grant


Balcomb Greene was a painter and major spokesperson for the organization American Abstract Artists. Reelected to the leadership position in 1939 and again in 1940, he was a driving force behind its mission to support the work of native abstract artists. He helped to write the charter of the society and edit the organization’s magazine. The cover he designed for the publication in 1938 demonstrates his style at that time: neat geometric precision, with lines dividing the composition into exact shapes. In 1941 a fire in Greene’s studio destroyed or severely damaged much his work, with the exception of a few paintings that had been sold or loaned. "Space Composition" was conceived and painted by Greene at around the time of the fire, but the museum’s canvas dates to 1970. It was “reconstructed by him on a new canvas from the remains of the original canvas which had been badly damaged in the fire.” This body of work—"Space Composition" along with two other works from 1941, "Blue Space" and "Monument in Yellow" (locations unknown)—was only one manifestation of Greene’s style. His geometric abstract style was replaced later in the 1940s with a form of figurative abstraction.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 81, p. 194.

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