Pat Steir (American, born 1938),
oil on canvas, 60 x 180 in.; 152.4 x 457.2 cm
In memory of Betty Kraft Mann and Ruth Rosinsky Sokolof, 1985.2abc
In the 1980s Pat Steir and other postmodern artists borrowed from the history of art in order to challenge the avant-garde's idolization of originality and to examine the mechanisms of art's own authority, its market, materials, and techniques. This idea is drawn out in Morning Tree, based on a painting by Vincent van Gogh who, in turn, was inspired by a Hiroshige print. Morning Tree combines the beauty of the cherry blossoms with an analytical approach. Its lush pink shades and thick strokes of paint provide a sensuous picture of flowers and branches that can be read from left to right with the image becoming increasingly large and abstract.