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Brice Marden

Red, Yellow, Blue Painting

1974

In 1964, Brice Marden developed a technique of mixing melted beeswax with oil paint in order to reduce the shine of the paint and to increase the tactility of the painted surface. Marden brushed on the mixture and then smoothed it with a spatula and a knife, building up layers to create a dense surface that both absorbs and reflects light. First drawing on a subtle palette of gray and muted tones, and later on stronger richer colors and multi-panel combinations, he established his artistic reputation with this technique. He likened his triptych beeswax paintings, including Red, Yellow, Blue Painting, to musical chords.

Brice Marden (b. 1938, Bronxville, New York; lives and works in New York)
Red, Yellow, Blue Painting, 1974
Oil and beeswax on fabric
74 x 72 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Barry Lowen Collection

I paint paintings made up of one, two, or three panels. I work from panel to panel. I will paint on one until I arrive at a color that holds that plane. I move to another panel and paint until something is holding that plane that also interestingly relates to the other panels. I work the third, searching for a color value that pulls the planes together into a plane that has aesthetic meaning. —Brice Marden

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