Ancient Sea Song

Ancient Sea Song

c.1943-5
Type: Painting / Oil on gesso board

This canvas began as “Orange Abstraction,” which was exhibited at the AAA show at the World’s Fair during the fall of 1940. Slobodkina later painted over the image to create “Ancient Sea Song.” In this composition of olive greens, pumpkin oranges and browns, Slobodkina separates the background into three sections representing the land, sky, and sea. This is a division she returns to in works like “The Sky, the Land, and the Sea (c.1945),” “Ovals in the Sunset (1952),” “Turboprop Skyshark (c.1950),” and “Levitator (c.1950).” The finger-like brown forms are another signature motif, here suggesting the ribs of an ancient shipwreck (The Life and Art of Esphyr Slobodkina, Tufts University Art Gallery, 1992, 26.)

In Exhibit:

Dimensions: H: 35.25  W: 43.5   

Exhibition History:

“Eight by Eight: American Abstract Painting Since 1940,” Philadelphia Museum of Art, March 7-April 1, 1945 (Ancient Sea Song was called “Large Picture” for the show); Norlyst Gallery, April 21-May 3, 1947; The Ebsworth Collection: American Modernism, (a traveling exhibition), Saint Louis Art Museum, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1987-88; Tufts show, 1992.

Catalog #: SF_0766