Doris Staffel
Untitled, 1942
Oil on canvas, 24” x 24”

Gift of the artist, 2011

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Please click the arrow above to hear, Doris Staffel, Philadelphia artist, talk about the somewhat scandalous hobby that she and her college roommates had.

Staffel uses vertical lines in purple to suggest forms that meld into indefinable spaces, and she uses color—muted yellows, ochre, vibrant blues, and saturated greens—to create transitions in these mysterious spaces. The touch of the artist’s brush and paint application moves throughout the painting with palpable energy.

At age seventeen, Staffel moved from Brooklyn to Philadelphia to study at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, where she attended classes in painting, figure drawing, lithography, and art history from 1939 to 1944. Her teachers included Philadelphia artists Earl Horter and Franklin Watkins. This painting, inspired by a landscape, was made during her last year at Tyler. It is one of Staffel’s very first abstractions.


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