Grace Hartigan, New England October, 1957

I have still the abstract expressionist logic, which is that you don’t fuss with a painting once the emotion is over. I remember this painting of mine in the Whitney Museum called “Sweden,” and that’s dedicated to Franz Kline because Franz and I were very good friends and he used to tease me in various ways. I’m Irish but he says I look like a Swedish skier. And he came into the studio one time and I had this painting, and I was worried because I thought maybe the lower right hand corner wasn’t up to the upper left hand corner, and I was complaining to Franz. He looked at me with disbelief and he said, “You mean you want to make it better?” I thought, “Oh, God, that is humiliating. I’m supposed to be some little shopper who’s trying to get the best bargain in a grocery store.” And I’ve never forgotten that, that once the impulse, once the emotion is over, that to fix it up is a rather humiliating plan because then it’s just a patch-over and you’re a shoemaker or something, not an artist.

-Grace Hartigan (1922-2008)

Complete 1979 Interview

Leave a Reply