Untitled (Still Life, Landscape)

With funds from the GI Bill, Langlais studied in Paris from the fall of 1951 through the spring of 1952. At the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, he encountered disciples of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872?1944) and experimented with the ordered grids and planar color arrangements of geometric abstraction. The painter Alex Katz, with whom Langlais shared a studio building in New York in the 1950s, noted that Langlais had gone to France “painting like Jackson Pollock and come back painting with flat colors in 1953, really early.” In so doing, Langlais expressed aesthetic principles that were just beginning to circulate in the United States. With its bright, unmodulated pigments and layered geometric motifs—houses, window panes, tabletops, and chair rungs—Untitled (Still Life, Landscape) suggests the residual effects of this exposure.

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