Anne Truitt

American; b. Baltimore, MD, 1921–d. Washington, D.C., 2004



acrylic on wood
100 1/2 x 42 x 16 inches (255.3 x 106.7 x 40.6 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Stern, © Estate of Anne Truitt / Bridgeman Art Library / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York


I remember how startled I was when, early in 1962, I realized that I was becoming obsessed with color as having meaning not only in counterpoint to the structures of fences and the bulks of weights— which were, I had thought, my primary concern—but also in itself, as holding meaning all on its own. As I worked along, making the sculptures as they appeared in my mind’s eye, I slowly came to realize that what I was actually trying to do was take paintings off the wall, to set color free in three dimensions for its own sake. —Anne Truitt, Daybook: The Journal of an Artist, 1982

Anne Truitt’s career as an artist spanned more than four decades. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Truitt graduated from Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr College in 1943 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. When she visited the American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1961, she was particularly interested in Barnett Newman’s paintings. She soon began to distill her work by investigating pure color, scale, proportion, and form through minimally constructed, painted sculptures. She used color as a metaphor to create a sense of mood, or to convey physical sensations such as weight. In 1974 the Corcoran presented the first retrospective survey of Truitt’s work.

There were radiant moments. Like the night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art when [then-director] Walter Hopps and I walked into the room in which we were preparing the exhibit. The sculptures stood in long rows, barely visible, lit only dimly by a skylight. We did not turn on the lights. I walked up and down the dark corridors between their massive forms, most of which towered over me, and held out both my hands to feel them, not touching them. They stood in their own space, in their own time, and I was glad in their presence. —Anne Truitt, 1974, at the time of her retrospective exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art