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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Thomas Wilfred, American, 1889–1968
Tranquil Study, Op. 92
Metal, glass, gel filters, electrical and lighting elements, and a frosted-glass screen in a wood cabinet
Overall: 94 x 104.1 x 25.4 cm (37 x 41 x 10 in.) Screen 29 3/4 x 38 1/2 in. 5 minutes, 15 seconds
Gift of Thomas C. Wilfred
With its morphing streaks of white light across the top of the screen, Tranquil Study, Op. 92 commences with a celestial apparition—a comet or faint aurora—crossing a low horizon above a purplish-blue sea. The white forms enter the screen from the upper-right corner and create the illusion of an outward trajectory, eventually disappearing on the left behind a “distant promontory,” as Wilfred called it in a letter to a prospective buyer. The explicitly “narrative” composition, which has a distinct beginning and end, stands in stark contrast to the repeated but variable patterns in his later works.
Lisa R. Brody et al., “Painting with Light,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2010): 11921, fig. 2, 4.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.