New Haven

Interior view of Thomas Wilfred’s Lumia Suite, Op. 158, 1963–64.

Thomas Wilfred

Yale University Art Gallery

Interior view of Thomas Wilfred’s Lumia Suite, Op. 158, 1963–64.

IN 1951, Jackson Pollock flung paint on glass while Hans Namuth stood underneath with his film camera, catching the descending cords of color. Jackson Pollock 51, along with Namuth’s still photographs, generated a captivating picture of the processual motions of body and pigment that yielded Pollock’s hyperkinetic paintings, enshrining artist and Abstract Expressionism as forces of liberatory rebellion. The following year, Dorothy Miller included Pollock’s painting in “15 Americans” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, along with work by a Danish-born artist, Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968), who had been perfecting the art of chroma-in-motion since 1919. But Wilfred relied neither on paint nor film; his medium was light, and he called his work “lumia.”

Pollock had long admired Wilfred; in the 1930s, he attended lumia recitals at Wilfred’s research and performance space in New York,

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