Described as a “giant of Los Angeles’s post-war art scene,” Billy Al Bengston played a pivotal role in the formation of West Coast abstraction. He first gained prominence in the 1960s for his use of unconventional materials like aluminum and lacquer. Later on, his paintings combined motifs from popular advertisements with vibrant colors and minimalist compositions. Upon his death in 2022, Bengston was recognized for helping to transform Los Angeles into a global center for contemporary art.
In this painting, Bengston deconstructs one of his most established motifs: the iris. The delicate flower, whose outline was originally lifted from the logo on a sugar packet, has been fragmented into abstracted petals and leaves. Gleaming like polished metal, their bulbous forms buoyantly tumble through a geometric framework of overlapping planes. The fracturing of the composition adds a dimension of depth to the image, while simultaneously emphasizing the flatness of the canvas.
- Artist Name: Billy Al Bengston (American, 1934-2022)
- Title: Punta Tintorera Dracula
- Date: 1974
- Medium: Acrylic on canvas
- Dimensions: 116 x 116 in. (294.6 x 294.6 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase / With the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fellows of the Pasadena Art Museum Acquisition Fund
- Accession Number: P.1974.5
- Copyright: © 2011 Billy Al Bengston
[Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, sold 1974 to];
Pasadena Art Museum, 1974-1975;
Norton Simon Museum.
American Art of the 1950s and 1960s from the Collection of the Norton Simon Museum
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988-08-11 to 1994-04-03
Additional Artwork by Artist
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