An American Watermark in Roma

Detail, Cerveteri, 1971-1972, Oil on paper mounted on panel, 58.4 x 73.7 cm; Private Collection, California.

Dismayed by the critical response to his Marlborough Gallery exhibition in New York, Philip Guston did not bring any art supplies with him when he arrived for a six month sojourn as artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. It was several months before he regained the creative energy necessary to embark on the Roma series, and he purchased his art supplies within walking distance of where he was staying. Guston selected Fabriano paper, made in Italy, as the support for most of the Roma paintings.

However Guston’s Cerveteri, which depicts an Italian hill town, is dated 1971-1972 and has a Strathmore watermark, identifying it as an American-made paper. Might Guston have made this work after he returned to his studio in Woodstock, New York in May 1971, demonstrating his continuing preoccupation with themes he explored in the Roma series, as curator Peter Benson Miller proposed ?

Karen Schneider, Librarian

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