new-york

Morris Louis

Andre Emmerich Gallery

An overrated artist is doomed to become underrated later; but eventually justice may be done. Has the time arrived to give Morris Louis his due? The Louis retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1986 was a less than celebrated event, provoking at best a cold admiration for what seemed a genuine but limited decorative talent. The present exhibition of works from 1960—the year Clement Greenberg proclaimed him one of the two “serious candidates for major status” after the Abstract Expressionists, and just two years before his premature death—was fuller and more various, both sensually and emotionally, than one would ever have suspected. It made the best possible case for Louis’ art.

Color has always been recognized as Louis’ primary instrument, and these paintings confirm it, but they also show drawing to have been far more essential to him than is generally acknowledged. In paintings

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