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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Artist: Thomas Wilfred, American, 1889–1968

Tranquil Study, Op. 92

1935

Metal, glass, gel filters, electrical and lighting elements, and a frosted-glass screen in a wood cabinet

37 × 41 × 10 in. (94 × 104.1 × 25.4 cm)
Gift of Thomas C. Wilfred
1983.66.3
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.
Geography: 
Made in New York, United States
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Sculpture
Bibliography: 

Lisa R. Brody et al., “Painting with Light,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2010): 119–21, fig. 2, 4.

Keely Orgeman et al., Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2017), 112–13, pl. 6, ill.

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.