The Irish/American painter Sean Scully (Dublin, 1945) has a considerable international reputation, but his work had not yet been shown in the Netherlands. With his exhibition at De Pont
, on view through 26 August, Scully is making his debut in the Netherlands. In Great Britain, the United States and Germany, however, he has already been represented in major museum collections - such as that of MoMA in New York and Tate Modern in London - for many years.
The artist is so pleased with his exhibition at De Pont that he has decided to donate, in addition to the acquisition made by the museum itself, more than twenty works. This means that the collection includes, all at once, a choice selection of work by Scully, who is regarded as one of today's leading abstract artists.
Along with the purchased painting Landline River from 2017, the museum will receive two other paintings (Landline Pink and Doric Sienna), eighteen graphic works and three series of photographic work as a gift of the artist.
The Landlines make up a key part of the exhibition.
In this series of paintings Scully explores the dividing line between land, water and sky. The paint has been applied fluidly, and as a result the bands of color are not monochrome or distinctly separate from each other. Many of these works have been painted on aluminum, a relatively new development in Scully's oeuvre. The bands are based not only on color, texture and form, but also on weight and density. In this way the material qualities of air, water and land are made visible and palpable.
The exhibition opens with paintings from the Doric series, dedicated to Greece and architecture, which began in 2008. It is an ode to what Greek antiquity gave to mankind, translated into abstract compositions. The paintings are composed of short horizontal and vertical bands in hues of austere grey, brown and black. Of the three types of Greek columns, the Doric is the simplest. The appearance and dimensions of a Doric temple are characterized by somewhat heavy proportions.
The paintings in this series have a similarly compact and robust look. In addition to the two Landlines, Doric Sienna is a fantastic acquisition for De Pont. Furthermore, the museum is able to add eighteen graphic works (color aquatints) to its collection, as well as three photographic works, including the ten-part series Manhattan Shut from 2014.
Director Hendrik Driessen is very proud that De Pont can add so many of Scullly's works to the collection: "It was great to collaborate with Sean, and we are extremely grateful to him for wanting to express his appreciation for De Pont with this exceptional gift."
Born in Dublin, Sean Scully grew up in a working-class neighborhood in South London. During the 1970s Scully moved to New York, and in 1983 he became an American citizen. Nowadays he lives both in the United States and in Germany, where he has a farm. Events from his private life continue to surface in his work in combination with a wide range of historical and cultural influences. Scully moreover feels strongly connected to current politics and social developments, to the world in which we live.
Sean Scully at De Pont is on view through 26 August 2018