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Romance of the Rose: On Jay DeFeo

May 14, 2013 | by

DeFeo, 1960. Photo via The Whitney Museum of American Art

DeFeo, 1960. Photo via the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“Civilization,” Gertrude Stein says, “begins with a rose.” And also: “It continues with blooming and it fastens clearly upon excellent examples.”

You understand what she means when you stand before Jay DeFeo’s massive painting The Rose, a two-ton, twelve-feet-tall canvas sculpted in oil, wood, and mica, a bold burst of grisaille. At the Whitney Museum of Art, where the work is part of the permanent collection, it hangs like an altarpiece, the focal point of a retrospective of DeFeo’s art. Read More »