About this Project

Guston Catalogue Raisonné LLC (the “Project”) is pleased to present this catalogue raisonné of paintings by the artist Philip Guston. This online publication catalogs all known paintings credited to Guston with one or more images of the work together with a searchable entry about the work, including its provenance, exhibition history and bibliographic history. In line with the Project’s purposes, this publication is accessible to scholars and the general public for free with registration.

As explained in further detail below, this catalogue raisonné of paintings includes works on canvas or panel, murals, and certain works on paper. The information in this catalogue is intended to be accurate as of the time of publication online. As an online publication, the Project is able to update the catalogue and we plan to make updates as new information and images emerge.

Guston’s personal and studio archives were used as the principal source of documentation for the catalogue. The archives have been maintained and updated since Guston’s death, and in particular, include photographic evidence of Guston’s work such as black and white prints, color and black and white slides, color and black and white plates, and color and black and white transparencies. Exhibition listings, catalogues, and other publications contained in the archives have been reviewed. Since this online catalogue raisonné project began in 2013, a concerted effort has been made to uncover and compile missing or uncertain work details and history. Collectors, museums, auction houses and art dealers known to be (or known to have been) in possession of Guston works were contacted for their assistance, and we obtained additional materials such as business correspondence, personal letters, inventories, exhibition records and catalogues, photographs, writings, and ephemera.

Because of inconsistencies and the lack of complete record keeping by Guston, the catalogue entries for some works may have more detail than for others. In preparing the entries, questions of medium, title, date of completion, provenance, and inscriptions have been considered.

Not all efforts to substantiate the existence of some works or to trace the present whereabouts of a work have been successful. The Project is optimistic, however, that with the publication of this catalogue, more of these privately held artworks will be discovered.

If you have additional information on a particular work, please write to submissions@gustoncrllc.org and complete the submission form.

Guide to Entries

The entries in this catalogue are organized in chronological order from 1930 to 1980 and divided into the following three sections:

1. Register of the Works and Technical Data
2. Provenance
3. Exhibition History, References and Bibliography

1. REGISTER OF THE WORKS AND TECHNICAL DATA

1.1. Catalogue Raisonné Number (CR#)

Each work in this catalogue has been assigned a unique Catalogue Raisonné Number (CR#). Below is an example of a CR#:

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The CR# begins with a prefix letter corresponding to the genre of the work. For this catalogue, the letter P represents the “Painting” genre.

Following the prefix letter are two digits that signify the year the work was completed or is believed to have been completed. When a work has been assigned a “circa” date (indicated by a “c.”), the “c.” is not included as part of the CR#. Here, 80 = 1980. Because all known works were created between 1913 and 1980, the last two digits of the year are sufficient.

Finally, the three digits following the period represent the Project’s sequencing of the works within a given calendar year. Guston did not list or otherwise document a temporal sequence as works were created and completed. Therefore, research, professional analysis and a response to the artist’s aesthetics has led to this sequence.

1.2. Genres

After careful study and review of Guston’s works and the numerous terms used by museums and other institutions to describe them, we classified the works into the following genres:

  • PAINTINGS
  • MURALS
  • DRAWINGS
  • PRINTS
  • EPHEMERA
  • SKETCHES

1.3. Titles

Guston was not consistent in titling his works. If no title was given, those works are listed in this catalogue as “Untitled”. Guston also occasionally titled works as “Untitled”. In some cases, Guston’s different dealers added descriptive names to untitled works in order to identify them more easily. In these instances, the work remains listed as “Untitled,” with the applicable descriptive name at times immediately following in parentheses.

Guston often inscribed information, such as his name, the title, year, and measurements, on the backs of works. In instances where a work has been published with multiple/conflicting titles, the title inscribed on the back is the title used in the catalogue entry.

1.4. Dates

The date listed for a work is the year or range of years in which the work was completed. This information derives primarily from inscriptions on the front or back of works or inscriptions on the back of photographs in the Guston archives. In those cases where no date information was identified on the work or in the archives, we consulted exhibition catalogues and pamphlets, installation photographs, and publications such as books, journals, newspapers or magazine articles. In instances where a work is believed to have been started in one year and completed in another, we include a date range.

In instances where we do not have documentary support to identify the exact year a work was completed, the year stated in the entry was determined by researching the style and cross-referencing other works completed within a certain time frame. In these cases, the year identified is preceded by “circa,” abbreviated as “c”.

1.5. Materials (Media and Supports)

All works in this catalogue have been classified according to the medium and support Guston used to create them.

After evaluation of the works and review of the numerous terms used by museums and other institutions to describe them, we determined that Guston primarily worked with the following media for his paintings:

  • OIL
  • ACRYLIC
  • GOUACHE
  • WATERCOLOR

Guston primarily used the following supports for the works we have classified as paintings:

  • CANVAS
  • ILLUSTRATION BOARD
  • PANEL
  • PAPER
  • PAPER MOUNTED ON PANEL

Examples of these works on paper or illustration board include:

  • Watercolors done in Guston’s early years
  • Gouaches done in 1949-1951, 1957-1964 and 1968
  • The “Roma” series that Guston completed in 1971 (done on paper with some mounted)
  • Guston’s final works, done in 1980 (acrylic on paper)

Works done on paper are classified as “on paper” without specifying the exact thickness or brand unless it is of a substantial thickness (min. of .25 mm). For paper of a substantial thickness, the term “illustration board” (e.g., paper mounted on both sides of a heavy weight board) is used. Although Guston primarily used Strathmore brand paper, he at times used Crescent brand paper and Fabriano. Because his use of brands changed over the years, no brands of paper have been specified in the entries.

1.6. Dimensions

The dimensions of a work are identified by height followed by width and given in both inches (rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of an inch) and centimeters (calculated based upon the dimensions measured in inches). Works were measured unframed from edge to edge. In instances where the dimensions of a work are not available, the measurements are listed as “Dimensions unknown.” Dimensions for some works in this catalogue may vary from previously published information as works have been measured by a variety of individuals over the years.

1.7. Signature/Inscriptions

Guston inscribed and signed his name in a variety of styles that evolved throughout his career. We have identified the following styles:

  • Signature alone or signature and date on the front of the work
  • Signature, title, date, dimensions and medium on the back of the work (inclusions vary)
  • Initials on the front of the work

Inscriptions and signatures are transcribed in the catalogue entries and recorded as written with the exact spelling and punctuation, including uppercase and lowercase letters. Descriptions include the position of the signature on the work, with a forward slash “/” indicating a line break. When the term “signed” is used, this indicates that Guston himself penned or used a brush to sign his name. When the term “inscribed” is used, the inscription is transcribed as it appears.

For example:

Signed front lower right: Philip Guston; inscribed on reverse: "THE TORMENTORS" [underlined]/47-48/41" x 61" [underlined]/PHILIP GUSTON

If there is no discernible signature or date on the work it is listed as “Unsigned, undated”.

2. Provenance

2.1 Current and Former Owners of Works

The provenance of a work is listed in reverse chronological order with the current owner listed at the top. We have not stated “Collection of the Artist” as the first entry since it is understood that all works originally belonged to the artist. Attempts have been made to identify and contact all current and former owners of the works. When owners have expressed a wish to remain anonymous, the Project honors our commitment to preserving owner privacy by identifying such works as “Private Collection.” However, collectors whose names have been identified in auction catalogues, exhibition catalogues or other public documents are listed as they were published. If a private collector did not respond to our inquiry, did not indicate a preferred credit line, or could not be located, the term “Collection Unknown” is used.

If we have documentation that a work has been destroyed, it is indicated as such with a short explanation, if the circumstances are known. The term “Whereabouts Unknown” is used for works that are lost or for which no current owner information is known.

2.2 Galleries

Over the 50 years of his career, Guston was represented (in most cases exclusively) by the following galleries: Midtown Galleries (1943-1951), Sidney Janis Gallery (1955-62), Marlborough-Gerson Gallery (1964-1971), and McKee Gallery (1974-1980). After his death, his estate was represented by McKee Gallery until 2015 and is now represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Galleries, auction houses and consultants who simply received works on consignment and subsequently sold them are not listed unless we have concluded they owned the work.

2.3 Insufficient Documentation

Dates of acquisition are not included in the entries because the Project does not have dates of acquisition for all works.

Many years of research has gone into the provenance history, however, it was not always possible to trace the complete history. If you have additional information on the provenance of a work, please write to submissions@gustoncrllc.org

3. EXHIBITIONS, REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Exhibitions

All known solo and group exhibitions that featured Guston works are listed and searchable in the catalogue. Exhibitions are listed in chronological order and include the venue, title, dates and travelling information (if applicable). If available, exhibition catalogue covers and installation photographs are included. Guston works included in each exhibition are displayed on dedicated web pages and have been identified via historical checklists, photography, and other research. A few exhibitions are pending further research. With a few notable exceptions, works on long-term display as part of the permanent collection of a museum or other public institution are not listed.

3.2 References and Bibliography

All known bibliographic references to Guston and his work are listed and searchable in the catalogue. These references are listed chronologically. All relevant reference information is noted, including, but not limited, to author(s), editor(s), title, year and/or date, journal, series, publisher, and place of publication. Page number of articles or specified sections of books are provided, if determinable. Contributing authors not noted in the citation are listed with their role, such as “essay by,” or “foreword by.” Citations follow the Chicago Manual of Style format.

References in foreign languages follow the conventions of that language. For instance, for references in French, Italian, and Spanish, the first word of a title is capitalized but not subsequent words, unless they are proper nouns. If an English translation of a title is needed, it follows the original title and is enclosed in brackets, without italics or quotation marks. If a title is given only in English translation, however, the original language is specified.

Images and Photography

The catalogue includes the best quality images available at the time of publication so that images may be examined in detail. New and higher quality images may be uploaded as they are obtained. If the only available image of a work is of extremely poor quality, a thumbnail stating ‘No Image Available” will appear in its place.

Many images come from original slides and transparencies found in the archives. These were scanned and color corrected digitally. The ability to depict color accurately, particularly with some of the older original transparencies, has proven to be a challenging task. A team of image technicians has worked to improve images to the extent possible. However, color accuracy may vary among individual computer monitors and digital displays. Accordingly, color accuracy cannot be assumed.

Several photographers and institutions are credited for images used in the catalogue. However, due to inadequate and inconsistent crediting in the archives and other documentation, it is impossible to identify the photographer of each photograph. A list of photographers known to have photographed Guston’s works and installations can be found here.

Future Prospects

This catalogue raisonné of paintings is published with the understanding that neither the Project nor The Guston Foundation authenticates artworks and that the inclusion of a work does not serve as a warranty or guarantee of that work’s authenticity or provenance. In addition, the fact that a painting has not been included in this catalogue does not necessarily mean that a work is not by Guston. Although one objective of the Project is to document Guston’s paintings, we do not claim this to be a complete record and it is subject to change.

At this time, the Project is focused on this online publication. A printed version of this catalogue raisonné may be published at a future date.

A catalogue raisonné of drawings by Philip Guston is planned for the future.

Cooperation and support from private collectors, museums, art dealers, researchers and other institutions have been instrumental to the creation of this catalogue, and their contributions are acknowledged with deep gratitude.

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