A Peek into Our Collections: Mira Schendel’s Untitled

November 10, 2014
Mira Schendel, Untitled, 1960–70. Watercolor, metallic paint, fiber-tip pen on Asian paper. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund, 2010.447. © Estate of Mira Schendel / Hauser & Wirth.

Showcasing the breadth and depth of our collections—from ancient to modern times and across a variety of media—A Peek into Our Collections offers a window on what will be on view when our new facility opens to the public on November 16.

Mira Schendel, Untitled, 1960–70, Brazilian, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum.

This work belongs to Mira Schendel’s series Bordados (Embroidery), a title that underscores the similarities between the artist’s technique and the intense manual work of stitching. A central figure in the neo-concrete abstraction movement that thrived in Brazil at mid-century, Schendel executed this drawing with jewel-like colors on thick Asian paper. Some of its geometric forms recall real objects, such as gridded windowpanes or citrus slices. The off-kilter yellow square, the composition’s visual anchor, rests on a mottled ground of green washes. To create the drawing’s dense layers of color, Schendel applied and wiped off layers of pigment, and according to the artist’s daughter, ironed the paper between paint applications—a careful, measured, repetitive process that is reminiscent of the laborious craft of embroidery.

See other highlighted objects here.