Philip Guston


  • Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945

    Philip Guston, Bombardment, 1937–38

    Philip Guston, Bombardment, 1937–38


    Kate Nesin: [Philip] Guston was inspired to make this painting more or less by the news of the day. 

    Narrator: Kate Nesin is an art historian and curator. 

    Kate Nesin: In April 1937, the Nazis bombed Guernica in a practice bombing session, so it was essentially all civilian casualties and senseless destruction. It was a moment in the Spanish Civil War that brought that war to international attention, including to Guston’s. 

    Narrator: Guston had worked as an assistant to Siqueiros earlier in the decade. In this painting, he follows Siqueiros’s pattern of modernizing and politicizing the energetic rhythms of Italian Baroque painting. Guston even used a traditional round easel format, known as a “tondo."

    Kate Nesin: It’s a shape that seems to barrel outward from the wall. The forms, the bodies primarily, which are torquing and twisting around the edges of the circle, seem like they’re literally and figuratively blasted forward off the wall toward us.


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