Not on view
Acrylic paint on wood
Overall: 90 9/16 × 8 × 8in. (230 × 20.3 × 20.3 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Ann and Gilbert Kinney
Rights and reproductions
© Estate of Anne Truitt; courtesy Bridgeman Images
Triad is an important example of Anne Truitt’s best-known sculptural form, the column, which she consistently explored for nearly four decades beginning in the early 1960s. While the human-size geometric shape made for a ready comparison with the work of contemporaneous Minimalist artists, Truitt favored allusive, evocative titles and did not use the methods of industrial fabrication preferred by practitioners such as Donald Judd and Robert Morris. Triad is wood coated with multiple layers of a warm beige acrylic paint that seems to pulsate with undertones of pale pink. “What I want is color in three dimensions,” the artist explained in 1979, “color set free, to a point where, theoretically, the support should dissolve into pure color.” A thin band of red, inset near the base of the plinth, enables an optical trick that makes Triad appear as if it is rising from the floor, overcoming volume and ascending into the realm of “pure color” that Truitt sought to achieve.
Anne Truitt, Triad, 1977
From America Is Hard to See
Anne Truitt, Triad, 1977
Narrator: Anne Truitt called this 1977 sculpture Triad, meaning "a group of three." Art historian James Meyer was friends with the artist.
James Meyer: If you look at the work, it consists of two different but similarly valued planes of a kind of pale, sort of lavender. And at the corners is a sort of band of peach. And at the bottom you see a very slender red stripe. ...So you have three visual terms on the surface of the piece. Triad has references of a kind of tense balance. It's not two terms, but three. So it's almost as if that red little stripe at the bottom is holding the whole thing together in a kind of intensity. It's almost like a package being held together by a little string that could suddenly get pulled apart.
Narrator: Truitt belonged to the same generation as the Minimalist sculptors. She shared their interest in precise, geometrical forms—like the column. But the Minimalists wanted the viewer to respond to the object only as a physical fact. By contrast, Truitt found expressive qualities even in something as simple as the elongated proportions of this column.
James Meyer: That height and that slimness, which is something Truitt becomes very keen on in her later work, renders it less and less an object, and more and more something elusive, something pointing to a subject matter beyond its own physical materiality.