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Mass Tone Painting: Alizarin Crimson, April 24, 1974

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Marcia Hafif
American, (1929-2018)

About this artwork

Since the early 1970s Marcia Hafif has systematically examined the fundamentals of painting, often through complex monochrome canvases. Hafif mixes her own paint, grinding a pigment with a muller—a heavy stone or weight—and combining it with linseed oil. Mass Tone Painting: Alizarin Crimson, titled after the specific red-toned pigment used, is from the first series of paintings Hafif prepared in this way. She explained, “I found a beauty in the colors beyond what I had ever seen in tube paint.” Unlike commercial tube paint, her handmade paints can behave unpredictably. She chose this painstaking technique because, in her words, it “lets a color … express itself, reveal its multiple nuances.”


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Marcia Hafif


Mass Tone Painting: Alizarin Crimson, April 24, 1974


United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1974


Oil on canvas


96.6 × 96.6 cm (38 × 38 in.)

Credit Line

Contemporary Art Discretionary, Watson F. Blair Prize, William H. Bartels Prize, and Emilie L. Wild funds; Oscar L. Gerber Memorial Fund for Contemporary Art; M.V. Kohnstamm and Laura Slobe Memorial Prize funds; Mr. and Mrs. Grank G. Logan Endowment; Ada S. Garrett Prize and Flora Mayer Witowsky funds

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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