Anne Truitt was a major figure in American art for more than forty years, and her bold use of geometry and color signaled a new direction for modern sculpture. Abstract yet rich with feeling, her work is grounded in memories and sensations accumulated over a lifetime. This referentiality is in stark contrast to the literalness of Minimalism, a movement with which her work is sometimes associated. For Truitt, abstraction provided a syntax for her impressions — of people, places, ideas, and events. She wielded color and form as metaphors for thought, developing a visual grammar that remains unique in the history of art. As she explained, “What is important to me is not geometrical shape per se, or color per se, but to make a relationship between shape and color which feels to me like my experience. To make what feels to me like reality.”
Anne Truitt (1921–2004) grew up in Easton, Maryland, and spent most of her adult life in Washington, DC. The large-scale, meticulously painted wood sculptures for which she is best known were first exhibited in 1963 at the André Emmerich Gallery in New York. She lived in Japan from 1964 to 1967, and the legendary curator Walter Hopps organized her first museum retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1973. The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington mounted the first posthumous retrospective of her work in 2009, and a survey exhibition at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid is scheduled for 2022. Truitt received numerous awards during her lifetime, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and five honorary doctorates. Today she is renowned not just for her art but also for her three books — Daybook (1982), Turn (1986), and Prospect (1996) — which distilled years of journal entries into a vivid account of her life as an artist.