Sean Scully’s characteristic stripe paintings have a rugged, inelegant beauty and an intensely physical, almost sculptural, presence. He works on a large scale with colors that cannot be easily characterized, allowing strong underpainting to merge with the surfaces of his works. The wavering edges of his lushly painted bands structure imperfect compositions. This canvas’s title, Heart of Darkness, refers to the novella first published in 1899 by Polish-born British author Joseph Conrad (1857–1924). Reflecting on the story, which depicts colonial exploitation in the Belgian Congo, Scully said, “Conrad writes that the heart of the twentieth century is black.”
Richard Dorment, “Scully Earns His Stripes,” Daily Telegraph, May 17, 1989.
William Feaver, “Starring in Stripes,” Observer, May 7, 1989.
Carter Ratcliff, Sean Scully, exh. cat. (Whitechapel, 1989), p. 14; 35 (color ill.).
Carter Ratcliff, Sean Scully, exh. cat. (Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 1989), pp. 14; 15; 39 (color ill.).
Carter Ratcliff, Sean Scully, exh. cat. (Palacio de Velázquez, 1989), pp. 16; 39 (color ill.).
Maurice Poirier, Sean Scully (Hudson Hills Press, 1990), pp. 7; 97; 99; 106, cat. 60 (color ill.).
Armin Zweite, Sean Scully: Paintings and Works on Paper, exh. cat. (Bernd Klüser, 1993), pp. 18–19.
Hank Burchard, “Sean Scully’s Severe Stripes,” Washington Post, June 30, 1995, p. N58.
Ned Rifkin, Sean Scully: Twenty Years: 1976–1995, exh. cat. (High Museum of Art, 1995), pp. 14; 27; 34; 63–64; 68; 72; 96; 97, cat. 16 (color ill.); 145.
Ned Rifkin, Sean Scully: Zwanzig Jahre, 1976–1995, exh. cat. (Schirn Kunsthalle, 1996), pp. 10; 21–22; 29; 58–59;63; 68.
Danilo Eccher, Sean Scully, exh. cat. (Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, 1996), p. 65.
Ned Rifkin, Sean Scully: Vinat anys, 1976–1995, exh. cat. (Fundació la Caixa, 1996), pp. 22; 95; 97, fig. 28 (ill.); 137, cat. 16 (color ill.); 185.
David Carrier, Sean Scully (Thames & Hudson, 2004), pp. 112; 143–44; 145 (color ill.); 152.
William Feaver, Sean Scully: Paintings and Works on Paper, exh. cat. (Lakeland Arts Trust, 2005), p. 10.
Sean Scully, Resistance and Persistence: Selected Writings, ed. Florence Ingleby (Merrell, 2006), pp. 21; 48 (color ill.).
Brian Kennedy, Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe, exh. cat. (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2008), pp. 55; 77.
Timothy Rubb and Amanda Sroka, Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art ; New Haven: in association with Yale University Press, 2020),34, 44-45, 46, 47, 51, 52, 54, 59,122-123 (color ill.), 224.
New York, William Beadleston Gallery, Sean Scully, Dec. 1, 1982–Jan. 8, 1983, no cat.
Allentown, Muhlenberg College Center for the Arts, Contemporary Abstract Painting, Sept. 12¬–Oct. 23, 1988, no cat. no.
Pittsburgh, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Sean Scully, May 4–June 30, 1985, cat. 1; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, July 17–Oct. 13, 1985.
Art Institute of Chicago, Sean Scully, Dec. 15, 1987–Feb. 7, 1988, no cat. no.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Sean Scully: Paintings & Works on Paper, 1982–88, May 5–June 25, 1989, no cat. no.; Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, July 12–Aug. 27; Madrid, Palacio de Velázquez del Retiro, Sept. 14–Nov. 12, 1989.
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Sean Scully: Twenty Years, 1976–1995, June 14–Sept. 10, 1995, cat. 16; Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Oct. 10, 1995–Jan. 7, 1996; Barcelona, Fundació “la Caixa,” Centre Cultural, Feb. 14–Apr. 7, 1996; Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, May 23–Aug. 24, 1996; Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Sept. 21–Dec. 1, 1996 (Washington D.C. and Atlanta only).
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas, June 20–Oct. 10, 2021, no cat. no.; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Apr. 11–July 31, 2022, cat.
The artist; sold through David McKee Gallery, New York, to Society for Contemporary American Art, Chciago, 1988; given to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1988.
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