Arthur B. Carles, Abstract Bouquet

Arthur B. Carles: Abstract Bouquet (1939) Oil on canvas
Abstract Bouquet
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Partial museum purchase and partial gift of Fredrica and Howard Wagman, 2011
33 1/2 x 39 1/2 in.

Arthur B. Carles was born in Philadelphia, PA, and had a great influence on the development of modernism and abstract painting in America. He is best known for his daring use of color and the verve of his personality. A documentary about Carles and his accomplishments can be seen here.

Abstract Bouquet, created in the artist's Chestnut Hill studio at 191 East Evergreen Avenue, demonstrates his achievement in pushing still life forms to abstraction. The vase anchors the composition, which balances dynamically on the corner of a table, and still life elements seem to explode outward from the center. Barbara Wolanin, an authority on Carles, writes that "the viewer's eye is drawn to the surface by the brilliant touches of color and varied textures, from heavy impasto to bare canvas. Triangles outlined in charcoal remain vital parts of the composition as if Carles were in the midst of trying out ideas and decided to stop when everything was working.”

Carles was an influential instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) who embraced the modern age and introduced his students to the work and ideas of the European avant-garde. Of his students, those whose artwork is featured at Woodmere Art Museum include Quita Brodhead, Jane Piper, Faye Swengel Badura, Bernard Badura, Jessie Drew-Bear, Elizabeth Godshalk BurgerMorris Blackburn, and Leon Kelly.


Arthur B. Carles: Philadelphia Artist from Jonnyres on Vimeo.

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