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John DePuy, Crestone Needles, Colorado

The expressionist abstract panting is landscape influenced. The bottom two-thirds is painted deep lavender. A white line forms the horizon at the upper fourth of the work. Above that are pale lavender hills, the “Needles” are capped with an orange band. The sky is pink. The land is without spatial time; nature is contradicted.

John DePuy
John DePuy is an expressionist painter with degrees from Columbia and Oxford Universities. He studied with Morris Kantor and Vaslav Vytlacyl at the Art Student League and Hans Hoffman, Hoffman School. Painted with the Cobra Group in Paris. When DePuy first moved to Taos, still under the influence of his teacher, Hans Hofmann, he painted nonobjectively. Over time, Hofmann’s influence receded, but his advice to paint from remained. For DePuy, the influence on art in New Mexico was “mainly the land” and (as with Ribak) the inspiration Pueblo Indians provided in their connection with the land. In DePuy’s work, the purely surface qualities of the land are often eclipsed by the land’s sheer power. Subtle gradations of color on walls or in the sky or on limitless plains form a shifting, lively backdrop for suns which shimmer and rivers which slide away and mesas which stand darkly. DePuy wrote, “This land speaks of another time sense than our Western-European lineal time.” By this he refers to the Western concept whereby time proceeds from one definable moment directly to a later, equally definable moment. The land DePuy began painting by the mid-1950s exists within spatial time, where moments do not proceed to any destination but repeat endlessly in the regular cycle of days, years, millennia, always returning, circular rather than linear. As such, nature may contradict our expectations. In an untitled oil painting (ca. 1955), the artist presents a world which seems to have flipped upside down.
Crestone Needles, Colorado, 2003
Oil on canvas
16" H x 20" W ; Canvas size: 16" H x 20" W
Gift of Gus Foster