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Philip Guston: Abstraction vs. Realism

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Gary Schwartz reflects on his time as Philip Guston's student at Washington Square College.

Schwartz remembers: "What we discussed was Guston’s big question: the relative primacy in art of abstraction versus realism. Guston insisted that abstraction came first… Our discussions always took the same turn. Guston attempted to convince me that artists like Piero della Francesca and the cave painters of Lascaux were in the first place abstractionists. True, they painted subjects, but what mattered to them most as artists was form and sheer pigment on surface."

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