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Touch and Scale: Cubism, Pollock, Newman, Still

THE TWO WORDS of the title evolved somewhat special meanings as I wrote this essay. By touch I mean the visible evidence of the paint stroke, by scale, the size of the canvas in relation to the less flexible size of the artist, his hand and arm and his painting tools. Touch and scale are attributes of painting. The stroke will be more or less visible, and the canvas will be more or less large. Touch and scale are totally interdependent and both are interdependent with style.

Scale is usually thought of as quantity only; a big thing seems simply bigger than a small thing. For example, we marvel at the strength and resilience of the tiny ant. Apparently if an ant were the size of a man he would run faster than a horse, easily lift a rock 30 times his weight and fall 100 stories without injury. Of course, this pays no regard to the qualities which come in company with scale change. Weight

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