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Two old-fashioned irons (for pressing clothes), books, two shoes, a nail, an ashtray full of cigarette butts, a burning cigarette, and what might be a paint palette are arranged on a pink surface in this stylized painting. Each object is outlined in black, gray, or white, and filled in with mostly flat blocks of black, brown, white, or shades of pink. We look down onto the table from an angle, and the bottom quarter is clear of objects. Set a bit back on the table, a stack of three books with the topmost one open is to our left next to the two shoes, which are laid soles-up in a line. One shoe overlaps the rectangular palette, which is streaked with red, black, orange, and green. The ashtray is along the right edge of the table, and the burning cigarette hangs off the edge nearby, a thin plume of smoke wafting upward. The stake or nail, the two irons, and a pink book with an open eye looking to our right are in a row along the back of the table. Another stake stands vertically, tip down, near the back right corner. A light bulb with a gold chain and a black square with a green pull-down curtain are to our left, along the top of the composition. The artist signed the work to the left of center along the bottom edge, “Philip Guston.”

Philip Guston, Painter's Table, 1973, oil on canvas, Gift (Partial and Promised) of Ambassador and Mrs. Donald Blinken in memory of Maurice H. Blinken and in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1991.69.1

Philip Guston Now

Exhibition Tour: Philip Guston Now

  • Friday, August 18, 2023
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • East Building, Ground Level - Art Information Desk
  • Guided Tours
  • In-person

This conversational exhibition tour explores Philip Guston’s 50-year career and the historical events that influenced his work. We will consider how Guston bridged the personal and political, the abstract and figurative, and the humorous and the tragic. 60 minutes. Led by staff from the Department of Interpretation.