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Niles Spencer, Wake of the Hurricane (1951)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
Because of his interest in form and design as attributes of urban optimism and growth, Niles Spencer's paintings are commonly associated with those produced by the American Precisionists. His paintings embody the group's aims to present industrial and architectural subjects in Cubist-derived compositions in which color, tonal, and spatial relationships are perfectly balanced.

Using the title as a clue, one may interpret Wake of the Hurricane as descriptive of the heightened silence that seems to follow momentous natural events. However, Spencer's interest in the hurricane as subject could have been sparked by the storm season of 1950, during which East Coast residents witnessed the greatest number of hurricanes ever recorded. A particularly vicious storm named "Dog" veered close to Long Island, where Spencer was renovating a house at the time. The artist's anticipation of a great catastrophe may have contributed to the sense of suppressed excitement in the composition.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Niles Spencer, Wake of the Hurricane (1951), from the exhibition Selections from the Permanent Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, December 8, 1996 to April 4, 1999.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009