Italian Paintings, 1961–1969
Seven rooms on the fourth floor contained 50 or so paintings and nearly 100 drawings from Marcia Hafif’s (1929–2018) Italian period. The artist was inspired by the Italian context she entered in the early 1960s, producing series of works that questioned the duality of form and substance in compositions that hint at figuration. Her production reflected external influences: the geometric, multicolored facades of Italian architecture, signage, advertising, design, and more. Color is placed in luminous, saturated flat tints and the motifs are enlarged to the edge of the canvas. Several essential pieces of her work, forming the prehistory of her evolution toward monochrome, barely known at the time of the exhibition, are now owned by the museum. They pose the problem of the iconographic dimension of abstraction and articulate the emergence of anthropomorphic forms in abstract painting, through a combination of lines and chromatic fields, as suggestive of Matisse as they are a hymn to color and line.