About This Artwork

Brice Marden
American, born 1938

Attendant 2, 1996/99

Oil on linen
208.3 x 144.8 cm (82 x 57 in.)

Gift of Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg, 2001.154

© 2018 Brice Marden / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In the 1980s, Brice Marden abandoned his commitment to strict geometric organization and technical precision in favor of a free-form gestural style of painting. Using twigs and long brushes, the artist created allover compositions consisting of interlaced calligraphic lines. Attendant 2 is part of a series of six paintings that were inspired by Chinese funerary sculptures called attendant figures. These earthenware secular objects, dating from the Western Han period (206 B.C.E.–A.D. 9), were meant to accompany the deceased into the afterlife and most often depicted men and women in a variety of poses, ranging from standing and kneeling to dancing. Designed to be viewed in the round, rather than frontally, like religious sculpture of the time, these statues’ dynamic positions are replicated in the painting’s careful and deliberate system of layered, curvilinear bands of color.

Interpretive Resources

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