“I see now how it feels to do something new and original,” Philip Guston wrote to his friend the poet Bill Berkson in October 1970. His large paintings of hooded figures were on view for the first time, and the art world was shocked. Why would an artist celebrated for his elegant abstractions risk his career?
The overwhelmingly negative reviews took their toll, following Guston to Rome, where he and his wife had taken refuge. In ‘Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971′, published in conjunction with an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, the artist’s daughter, Musa Mayer, offers an intimate view of her father’s state of mind.
His letters to Berkson, biographer Dore Ashton, and others, as well as studio talks with students, his wife’s diaries, archival images, and never-before-published film stills of Guston and the poet Clark Coolidge—all reveal the artist’s inner process, as do the extensive plate sections of the extraordinary paintings and drawings created during that crucial year.