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Philip Guston, American, 1913 - 1980

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on Masonite

Diameter: 42 inches (106.7 cm) Framed (Diameter): 48 inches (121.9 cm)

© The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy McKee Gallery, New York

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Musa and Tom Mayer, 2011

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Philip Guston painted Bombardment after reading newspaper reports of atrocities carried out during the Spanish Civil War, which began on July 17, 1936, when General Francisco Franco led a military coup against the democratically elected Republican government. The emotionally charged scene, which reflects the artist's recent exposure to the activist art of the Mexican mural movement, depicts the aerial bombardment of a civilian population by Franco's warplanes. However, the traditional tondo (circle) format, typically identified with Italian Renaissance painting, suggests that Guston intended to create a universal icon decrying human hatred and destruction rather than a specific commentary on the war in Spain.