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Philip Guston

Fogg Art Museum

In 1970, at the height of an established career as a leading Abstract Expressionist, fifty-seven-year-old Philip Guston confounded critics and alienated fellow artists with a show of figurative work: ominous narrative paintings featuring cartoonlike Klansmen. Now the stuff of modernist legend, Guston’s transition from his so-called abstract impressionism to a heavily painted, moody figuration is revisited in a groundbreaking exhibition co-organized by Joanna Weber, acting curator at the Yale University Art Gallery (where the show debuted last spring), and Fogg Art Museum associate curator Harry Cooper. “Philip Guston: A New Alphabet” presents forty-eight oils (including four from the controversial 1970 Marlborough exhibition), acrylics, and gouaches made between 1961 and 1978, but the thematic core is the “alphabet panels,” a pivotal group of small oil paintings from 1968–70, which the

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