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Modern and Contemporary Art
Artist: Jennifer Bartlett, American, born 1941, B.F.A. 1964, M.F.A. 1965



25 baked enamel-coated steel plates with silkscreened grid, Testor’s enamel, and felt-tipped pen

64 × 108 in. (162.6 × 274.3 cm)
image: 12 × 12 in. (30.5 × 30.5 cm)
Purchased with a gift from Agnes Gund and with the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

The installation piece Five is comprised of twenty-five plates, all of the same size, with screen-printed grids over which the artist painted. The five columns feature arrangements of colored dots governed by a distinct and complex logic of serial progression. Bartlett was influenced by the conceptual art of the 1960s, for which grids and serial composition were integral aesthetic strategies. Unlike the often stark, rule-bound work of conceptual artists such as Sol LeWitt, however, Bartlett was never interested in rigidity; she often made paintings that flirted with systems only to break them, and sometimes incorporated figurative imagery. Five is an instance of her more rule-bound, entirely abstract works. With their imperfect hand-drawn quality, the dots that characterize Bartlett’s work throughout the late 1960s and 1970s serve as an index of the meticulous process of the painting’s construction—their sheer quantity evokes the time it took to produce each piece. They also recall the pointillism of Georges Seurat, whose painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 (1884/86, Art Institute of Chicago) inspired Bartlett as a young artist. Five is a quintessential work from the mature phase of the Bartlett’s production, preceding by several years her career-defining 988-plate painting, Rhapsody (1975–76, Museum of Modern Art, New York).

Made in United States
20th century

Purchased directly from the artist


Terrie Sultan and Klaus Ottmann, Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe - Works 1970–2011, exh. cat. (Water Mill, N.Y.: Parrish Art Museum, 2013), 19, ill.

Lisa Hodermarsky et al., On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2021), 70, 116–17, 156, no. 18, fig. 1.

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.