Quita Brodhead, Still Life
In this exuberant work she arranges her signature warm oranges, reds, violets, and lemon yellows against cool blues and greens that optically vibrate, using color and form to create an impression of lightness. The purple "eye” symbol found in the left half of the painting is a reference to Philadelphia painter Arthur B. Carles. Spiraling lines, strong curves, floating shapes, and upward movement create a composition that seems to move through space.
A devoted student of Carles, Quita Brodhead was greatly influenced by the vivid coloristic effects of Carles, Henri Matisse, and Paul Cezanne. Her first solo show took place in 1934 at what is now the Main Line Art Center in Haverford, and she began exhibiting in New York in 1938. By the early 1940s her painting evolved from its figurative beginnings into lyrical abstractions; shortly after Still Life was painted she became a completely abstract painter.