Home / Art

An Oil Painting Layered So Thick It Weighs One Ton

In the mid-1950's, artist Jay DeFeo was a key member of the artist community in San Francisco, California. Inspired and influenced by abstract expressionism, she used unconventional materials to produce a variety of brilliant works, including sculptures, drawing, collage, photographs, and paintings.

DeFeo is best known for this monumental painting, entitled The Rose, which she started in 1958 and completed over the course of eight years. The piece consists of white and gray paints layered so thickly onto the canvas that, in some ares, the paints are almost eight inches thick. She used so much oil paint that she called it “a marriage between painting and sculpture.”

The Rose measures 7.5 x 11 feet and weighs 2,300 pounds, and it took a crane to remove the piece from the artist's studio. It was just recently installed as part of the Whitney Museum exhibition Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective (currently open). The piece demands attention, both in its massive presence as well as in its impenetrable organic abstraction, and it will certainly keep Whitney visitors captivated for hours.

The Jay DeFeo Trust website
via [Whitney Museum]

Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content