1980-81
American
acrylic and vinyl based paint on canvas
United States
Overall: 114 × 114 in. (289.56 × 289.56 cm)
85.437

“I was searching for an image and all I had to find it with was my head and my hand . . . That’s what a painter is—a hand and a head.” —Susan Rothenberg

Rothenberg’s paintings exemplified the return to representation and personal symbolism apparent in many younger American artists’ work beginning in the mid-1970s. This development was, in part, a reaction to the previous generation’s exploration of abstract, often geometric, forms. Rothenberg’s potent, highly simplified images resist explanation, but her emphasis here on the painter’s two essential assets—the head and the hand—suggests the interdependence of concept and craft.

signed on reverse, center: "Susan Rothenberg 1980-81 Head (Blue)"
Gift of the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation
Huntington Galleries, Huntington, WV, June 2 - August 18, 1984

Muscarelle Museum, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, February 4 - April 14, 1984

Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA, November 6 - December 17, 1983

The Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation Collection, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, March 25 - May 29, 1983

Susan Rothenberg, Kunsthalle, Basel, Switzerland, October 3 - November 15, 1981; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany, December 18, 1981 - January 31, 1982; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebeck, Denmark, March 13 - June 2, 1982; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, October 14 - November 28, 1982

Susan Rothenberg: Five Heads, Willard Gallery, New York, NY, April 11 - May 16, 1981
Ravenal, John B. Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007. (Pp. 68-69).

Preble, Duane, et al. Artforms. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1999. (6th ed.: p. 482, color ill. p. 482, fig. 691; 7th ed.: p. 476, color ill. p. 476, fig. 682; 8th ed.: pp. 458-459, fig. 657).

Dunbar, Clement, et al. Assignments in Exposition. 12th ed. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997. (Cover ill.).

Preble, Duane, et al. Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. 5th ed. Chicago: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1994. (No. 704, p. 497).

Simon, Joan. Susan Rothenberg. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991. (Color ill. p. 84).

Sachs, Frederick. "The Intimate Sense: Understanding the Mechanics of Touch." The Sciences 28, no. 1 (Jan/Feb 1988): 28-34. (Color ill. p. 30).

Tully, Judd. “Sydney and Frances Lewis: The Quest for the Best in Art,” Smithsonian 18, no. 8 (November 1987): np. (Color ill. p. 86).

Brandt, Frederick R. Late 20th Century Art. Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1985. (No. 81, p. 166, ill. p. 167).

Storr, Robert. “Spooks and Floats.” Art in America 71, no. 5 (May 1983): 153-159. (Cover ill.).

Ammann, Jean-Christophe. Susan Rothenberg. Basel: Kunsthalle, 1981. Exhibition catalogue. (No. 13, np)

Brandt, Frederick R., and Susan L. Butler. Late Twentieth Century Art: From the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation. Richmond, VA: Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation, 1981. (No. 51, pp. 58-59, illus.)
(Willard Gallery, New York) by 1981; Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney and Francis Lewis, Virginia, in 1981; [1] Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in October 1985.

[1] Sydney and Frances Lewis purchased the work from Willard Gallery during the exhibition “Susan Rothenberg: Five Heads," on view April 11 - May 16, 1981.
©artist or artist’s estate

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