Guston is however tormented by the question of the role of art. When he moves to Woodstock NY in 1967 he completely changes his approach to the detriment of his own career.
He no longer understands what is the purpose of juxtaposing bright colors. He will now show ordinary objects of his time in a drawing imitating cartoons with poor or lugubrious colors.
On May 17 in New York, Christie's sells Painter at night, oil on canvas 172 x 203 cm painted in 1979, lot 11 B estimated $ 8M. This artwork bearing symbols from his whole life appears as his artistic testament. Did this chain smoker feel that his health was threatened ? He died in the next year of a heart attack.
The unshaved artist with dirty hair turns his back on the viewer. In his dignity as a creator, he is not embarrassed to look like a tramp. He holds his brush and looks at the smoke of his cigarette. The scene is barely lit by a small lamp that symbolized the suicide of his father in his teenager's drawings. Framed in a television it is only a picture in the picture : once again art did not express a reality.
Misunderstood in his later career during his lifetime, Guston has become the forerunner of a movement which does not yet have a name seeking to express the existentialist difficulty and the brutality of current life.
SOLD for $ 12.6M including premium