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The Art Story Homepage Artists Anne Truitt
Anne Truitt Photo

Anne Truitt

American Sculptor and Painter

Movements and Styles: Washington Color School, Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism

Born: March 16, 1921 - Baltimore, Maryland

Died: December 23, 2004 - Washington, D.C.

Anne Truitt Timeline

"As I work to understand my life, its scale seems to diminish, as a tree I gaze up into flattens when I walk up a mountain and look down on it. Humility is really more natural than pride, which seems to me always to involve a lie."

Summary of Anne Truitt

In the wake of Abstract Expressionism during the Cold War, Anne Truitt created complex, subtly nuanced sculptures that belie their simplicity. Known for her hand-painted columnar sculptures, Truitt explored the realms of her emotional and psychological life with the most minimal of means. Interested in how we walk through and inhabit the physical world, Truitt's sculpture induces an embodied, and not simply an optical, response from the viewer.

While Truitt gained acclaim in the 1960s as one of the earliest Minimalists and was briefly championed by the art critic Clement Greenberg, she remained distant from the New York art scene and spent decades balancing her artistic practice with raising a family. Feeling apart from current artistic trends, Truitt's art and her process would be influential for younger artists interested in the poetics of form and material such as Roni Horn and Rachel Whiteread.

Key Ideas

Truitt's sculptures are resolutely abstract and seemingly non-narrative, but each is steeped in Truitt's own biography: her memories growing up, her time in Japan, and her home in Washington, D.C. The subtle juxtapositions of color and form create emotional resonances with her own memories of certain events and times.
Often cast as a Minimalist, Truitt, much like the painter Agnes Martin, had more affinities with the earlier movement of Abstract Expressionism than with her contemporaries. Her art was suffused with emotion, and she wished to engage the viewer on a bodily level in order to elicit the viewer's emotional response.
While Truitt's sculptures stylistically resemble work being done by Minimalist artists like Donald Judd and Carl Andre as well as Washington Color School artists such as Kenneth Noland and Gene Davis, Truitt's artistic intentions were often diametrically opposed to theirs. While many of the Minimalists had their works fabricated by others, Truitt constructed and painted all of her own sculptures. Her personal involvement as well as the personal meanings that imbue her work put her at odds with the more cerebral, conceptual, and anonymous art of the Minimalists. Additionally, her interest in the viewer's physical relation with the work of art contrasted with the Washington Color School's interest in pure opticality.
Anne Truitt Photo

Born Anne Dean in Baltimore, Anne Truitt grew up in the coastal town of Easton on the shores of Maryland. As a happy, sprightly child, Truitt and her two younger twin sisters flourished in an affluent household under her mother's maxim: "Children should be brought up like cabbages - with lots of sun and space and let alone to grow." Roaming around the local streets with a sense of wonder and discovery, Truitt later remembered, "[A]nd so it was with the little town of Easton...an orderly scattering of houses, mostly white clapboard, so small that even on my short legs I was able to encompass the town's dimensions."

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Anne Truitt
Interactive chart with Anne Truitt's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Ad ReinhardtAd Reinhardt
Barnett NewmanBarnett Newman

Personal Contacts

Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg
Kenneth NolandKenneth Noland
Mary Pinchot Meyer

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Anne Truitt
Anne Truitt
Years Worked: 1960s - 2004
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Sol LeWittSol LeWitt
Roni HornRoni Horn
Rachel WhitereadRachel Whiteread
Karl Haendel

Personal Contacts

Mary Pinchot Meyer
Carl AndreCarl Andre

Movements

Washington Color SchoolWashington Color School
MinimalismMinimalism
Post-MinimalismPost-Minimalism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Rosie Lesso

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rosie Lesso
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
First published on 11 Jun 2019. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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