U.S., 1891-1977 Flower Head, c.1940's
Oil on canvas
36 x 42 in.
State Department Collection, Purchase, War Assets Administration,
William Baziotes was influenced by Surrealism,
particularly the experiments with automatism a free association
of lyrical lines and shapes which explore the "collective unconscious"
(written about by Carl Jung). Baziotes's experiments led to works
described as biomorphic, in which shapes resemble human or organic
The organic quality of Baziotes'
forms is strongly suggested in both the title and shapes of color
in Flower Head. The artist worked early in his career at
a stained glass company, which might explain the heavily outlined
shapes of color in this painting. While his paintings have been
praised for their color and lyricism, Baziotes said they do have
a dark side, writing: "My work is like the Caribbean--above
the Blue Sky and below the Blue Water beneath the Sharks."