Scully’s early figurative works in dialogue with his abstract oeuvre
Sean Scully (* 1945 in Dublin) is considered one of the most significant abstract painters of our time. For decades he has produced a wealth of variations on his core theme of lines and stripes, creating works with a fascinating range of tone and expression from the romantic to the melancholic. Early on in his career Scully did figural work, to which he still feels indebted; “To this day my paintings retain a sense of the body, and the feeling of a physical relationship with the world.” He considers German Expressionism one of his sources of inspiration and specifically cites the influence of artists André Derain, Henri Matisse, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The stroke of the brush is a visible component of his painterly abstractions. The edges of his fields of color are delineated by hand, which lends his compositions a haptic quality. Presenting surprising new perspectives on the artist’s work, this publication is the first study on the interplay between figuration and abstraction in Scully’s oeuvre.