Philip Guston painted this portrait of an unknown sitter when he was teaching at the State University of Iowa. He said that the artworks from this period of his life were influenced by Venetian paintings, and include several portraits of his colleagues and students, as may be the case here. The young black man he paints here in Sunday Interior
smokes a cigarette at a table, and gazes calmly out at the viewer. Building facades can be seen through the window through a raised blind in a similar shade of turquoise to the young man’s tie.
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 96.5 x 61.0 cm Private Collection © The Estate of Philip Guston Photograph by Genevieve Hanson, courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) was a Canadian American artist, who worked in painting, drawing, printmaking and murals. Born in Canada to a Jewish immigrant family, he grew up in the US and was one of the most celebrated abstract painters of the 1950s and 1960s. His early work addressed racism in America and wars abroad. During the social and political upheavals of the late 1960s, Guston rejected abstraction, and instead developed a practice involving large-scale paintings and comic-like figures, some in white hoods representing evil and the everyday perpetrators of racism. These paintings and those that followed established Guston as one of the most influential painters of the late 20th century.