A detail from an untitled painting by Harold Ancart, dated 2018.
Harold Ancart
A photograph of Harold Ancart.

Harold Ancart, 2019. Photo by Michelle Young

Harold Ancart, 2019. Photo by Michelle Young

Harold Ancart’s (b. 1980) work encompasses painting, drawing, and sculpture. Drawn to subjects that naturally invite contemplation, such as the horizon, clouds, flowers, mountains, and flames, Ancart often works in series, using motifs to explore the possibilities of painting.

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Installation view of a painting by Harold Ancart, titled Untitled, dated 2018

Harold Ancart

Untitled, 2018
Oil stick and pencil on canvas in artist’s frame
81 x 113 inches
205.7 x 287 cm

Signed and dated verso

Ancart has referenced icebergs as a device that dissects the painting from a figurative whole into abstract parts, turning placid seascapes into a meditation on painting itself. 

A painting by Frederick Edwin Church, titled The Iceberg, dated 1891.

Frederic Edwin Church, The Iceberg, 1891. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Frederic Edwin Church, The Iceberg, 1891. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

The first icebergs Ancart painted conformed, compositionally and chromatically, to the subject, but as he worked through the series the paintings became increasingly rich in texture and palette—the subject almost melting from a single block of white into an array of color. “The more the subject of the painting distills itself into shapes and color,” Ancart says, “the more powerful the poetic impact of the painting will be on the viewer.”
These works conjure associations with nineteenth-century Romantic landscapes by Frederic Edwin Church; the ambiguity between abstraction and figuration in the work of Philip Guston; and Josef Albers’s play on possibility and color combinations within a restricted format.
A painting by Josef Albers, titled Homage to the Square, dated 1971.

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1971. Private collection

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1971. Private collection

“The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. —⁠⁠Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, 1932

An installation view of three untitled paintings by Harold Ancart in an exhibition at the Beyeler Collection in 2018.

Installation view, Harold Ancart: Freeze, David Zwirner, London, 2018

Installation view, Harold Ancart: Freeze, David Zwirner, London, 2018


Josef Albers
Harold Ancart
Carol Bove
Donald Judd
Yayoi Kusama
Kerry James Marshall
Joan Mitchell
Giorgio Morandi

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