Myron Stout, what I am able to find online on March 13, 2011
Yesterday on Steve Roden’s blog I found a post with excerpts from Myron Stout’s journals. Stout’s paintings have been heroic to me, although I’ve only seen a few. I jumped on this and quickly posted a link on Facebook – along with an image I grabbed in a hurry. Then I got all excited and posted to Fb every one of the best Stout images I could find along with some additional website links. And guess what? People LOVE Myron Stout. Yay.
Facebook being the short-term experience that it is, the posts I did have long since slipped away behind notifications of impending parties, kids pictures and images of meals eaten, so “Darn!” I thought. I’ll probably lose all those links and images. What do I do? (Has anybody found a way to do a “Control F” on Facebook? Even in your own Wall?)
“Um, dude, you’ve got a blog” is the way I reminded myself of Notes’s existence. I do have readers who use Notes as a repository for web links and images – I know this because there are favorites that individuals Google search and seek out. So, call this post “Myron Stout Web Central” at least within the limited resources I have at hand.
I begin with the last image I found last night, and also one of the weirdest Myron Stout paintings I have seen. Granted my exposure is limited but isn’t the above painting odd? He painted this when he was about forty (his dates are 1908 – 1987) and I do not know if forty was early in his career or not. Some people start late. I suppose that it may resemble much 1940s American abstract painting but I think I see refracted light off the ocean, pointy sails of boats, and sunlight. Neat painting and less tasteful than some of the later work has become.
By the way, Midmarch Arts Press published The Journals of Myron Stout in 2005 with a forward by Robert Storr.
The above three images are from an online auction service called Arcadja. I don’t know anything about this. I’ll paste from the descriptions:
Untitled signed ‘Myron Stout’ (on the reverse) charcoal and pastel on paper 24 7/8 x 18 7/8 in. (63.2 x 48 cm.) Drawn in 1953-1961
Provenance The Green Gallery, New York. Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature H. Geldzahler, Myron Stout, exh. cat., Flynn, New York and Kent Fine Art, New York, 1990, p. 52 (illustrated). Exhibited New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Myron Stout, February-April 1980, pp. 35 and 92, no. 22 (illustrated, p. 35). Providence, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, 1900 to Now: Modern Art from Rhode Island Collectors, January-May 1988.
Lot Notes: Myron Stout came to artistic maturity in the 1950’s, at a time when gestural Abstract Expressionism was at its height and, with the exception of Reinhardt and Albers, hard-edged geometric abstraction was on the wane. The geometry-dominated American Abstract Artists were active, including Ilya Bolotowsky, Burgoyne Diller and Charles Shaw but were clearly of secondary importance to the development of abstract painting. Myron Stout’s contemplative art of intimately scaled, iconic black shapes floating in fields of white were very much against the grain of the mainstream abstraction. Stout worked endlessly on his compositions, subtly changing placement and scale until he achieved the desired affect, which often took decades. The present charcoal drawing, of which about 40 are extant, took the artist eight years to complete, before arriving at the perfect balance of forms and spatial tension that mark the best of Stout’s work. The artist’s aesthetic philosophy and working methods were inextricably linked: “”You have to build up your gods, watch them dissolve before your eyes, and build them up again. A painting is a myth, a personal myth, but the ,myths of people are not created at once, they are accretions; not, however, layer on layer, but working, moving, interpenetrating layers, the top layer pushed and pulled, and tilted by still working through the unseen and unrecognized bottom layer. So, a painting is the external, material evidence of one’s personal myth, built up from birth within one’s self. A painting is an order of personal experience” (M. Stout Journal 21 July 1953).
The red and black image:
UNTITLED Signed and dated M Stout 57 and M Stout 57 on the reverse of each canvas Oil on two canvases, framed together 23 5/8 x 19 inches, 23 3/4 x 16 inches Width overall 35 3/8 inches
Provenance: Acquired from the artist Estimate $2,500-3,500 Left canvas some craquelure overall; indentation top right; some craquelure center right in right canvas
Bottom black and white image:
Untitled signed ‘Myron Stout’ (on the reverse) oil on paper 12 x 9 in. (30.5 x 22.9 cm.) Executed circa 1946. Untitled signed ‘Myron Stout’ (on the reverse) oil on paper 12 x 9 in. (30.5 x 22.9 cm.) Executed circa 1946. (2)
Provenance View Lot Condition Report Sam Hardison Fine Arts, New York Gift from the above to the present owner.
Archive of American Art Oral History Project, Myron Stout. March through October, 1984, 3 sound cassettes 39 pages. Link to transcript.
About the Siennese Shredder:
The Sienese Shredder is an annual journal founded and edited by artists Brice Brown and Trevor Winkfield, published by Sienese Shredder Editions. Mark Shortliffe joined the team in 2009 and co-edited Sienese Shredder 4.
Each issue brings together poetry, critical writing, visual arts, unpublished rarities, oddball ephemera and other culturally significant material in a way that is exciting, contemporary and fresh. Contents can include writings by visual artists; art by writers; poets as installation artists; photographers as poets, and the range of contributors moves from the well-known and up-and-coming to the unknown or forgotten.
As an archival project, each issue of The Sienese Shredder comes with a CD recording of a well-known poet reading or a musician presenting a retrospective sampling their work. Issue of the Shredder has information about Stout.
It’s a nice life. These paintings are more interesting and less, “Oh, right – that looks like a Myron Stout painting.,” now that I’ve spent time trolling around online looking and reading. I like when newness stretches my mind into accepting the scope of an artist’s practice. God forbid I should find only what I expect!!
It will be a different world tomorrow, with more to see. Have fun with it?