Anne Truitt’s first mature works are simple sculptural abstractions that evoke the vernacular architecture of her childhood home in Easton, Maryland. Drawing on her memory of fences, she produced several sculptures in 1961 and 1962 with vertical panels numbering between one and seven. Soon after, for her first solo exhibition at the André Emmerich Gallery in New York in 1963, she presented large, upright structures painted in dark hues. Placed on the floor and scaled to the viewer’s body, these early works introduced the serial syntax and bodily scale of Minimalism.
Throughout the 1960s, Truitt was included in canonical Minimalist exhibitions such as Black, White and Grey at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1964 and Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1966. However, her allusive subject matter and intuitive use of hand-applied color set her apart from artists like Donald Judd and Robert Morris. While those artists eschewed the subjectivity of Abstract Expressionism, Truitt harnessed its legacy to explore the transcendent potential of geometric abstraction. Much like Agnes Martin’s precisely painted grids, which occupy a transitional role between New York School painting and Minimal strategies, Truitt’s work serves as a bridge, mediating between the two opposing aesthetic positions. As she explained, “I have struggled all my life to get maximum meaning in the simplest possible form.”
Anne Truitt was born in Baltimore in 1921. She died in Washington, DC, in 2004.