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collections > permanent collection > prints > philip pearlstein

Philip Pearlstein
(American, b. 1924)
Nude on Bamboo, 1984
Color lithograph, 35" x 29"

1988 Collectors Club purchase (88.015)

Setting aside the accepted conventions of figure painting, Philip Pearlstein reinvented the traditional subject of the academic nude.  In paintings and prints such as Nude on Bamboo, Pearlstein utilizes unorthodox poses, arbitrary cropping of the figure, and cool lighting in order to represent the human figure in new ways.  Concentrating on form rather than subject, Pearlstein bypasses emotional content and approaches the nude as a vehicle for exploring composition, light and shadow, and other formal concerns.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pearlstein studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and Art History at New York University.  During the 1950s, he painted in an abstract mode, but eventually he switched to landscapes and figure painting.  By the early 1960s, he had formulated his basic approach to the nude, and over the course of the decade, he emerged as an important figure in postwar realist painting.  Pearlstein has since received numerous awards and honors for his work, and is represented in many public collections.