The Jitterbug Waltz

Stanley Whitney


Le Sirenuse Positano Stanley Whitney DSF6108


It’s relatively easy to describe a Stanley Whitney painting, but not so easy to describe what it does. For decades, the Afro-American artists has focused on painting blocks of colour on square canvases. These blocks are divided by horizontal bands, between three and five in each work. The result is a dance of colour that seems to cleave to certain rules but at the same time to challenge or flaunt those rules. Jitterbug Waltz brings this vibrant modern dance to one of the venerable fourth-floor guest salons that formed the original nucleus of the family house around which Le Sirenuse grew.

Stanley Whitney was born in Philadelphia in 1946 and lives and works in New York City and Parma, Italy. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Since the mid-1970s, he has been exploring the formal possibilities of colour within ever-shifting grids of multi-hued blocks and all-over fields of gestural marks and passages. Taking his cues from early Minimalism, Color Field painters, jazz music and his favourite historical artists – Titian, Velázquez and Cézanne among them – Whitney is as much an exponent of the process-based, spatially-gridded square in art as Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin and Carl Andre.

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