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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, (1929-2017)

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)


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

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Extended information about this artwork

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