Suzy Frelinghuysen, Composition, 1987

Suzy Frelinghuysen (1911-1988)
Lithograph on paper
9 3/4 x 12 3/4 in. (24.8 x 32.4 cm)
The Mishkin Gallery
Gift of American Abstract Artists
Ed. 55/140

“In painting, you’re concerned with the arrangement of forms.
On stage, which is your frame, you’re concerned with arranging yourself.”
—— Suzy Frelinghuysen

This black and white lithograph was made for the American Abstract Artists 50th Anniversary portfolio. Suzy Frelinghuysen grew up in an affluent family in Newark, New Jersey. When she was 18, she moved to New York and became an opera singer. With the influence of her husband, George L.K. Morris, she developed a serious interest in art in 1937 and joined the American Abstract Artists group. Abstract art doesn’t necessarily represent something in reality, instead it allows the artist to make more gestural, symbolic and elusive works. Because of her music background, Frelinghuysen’s abstract works often contained elements suggestive of music.

The curved thin line might be a part of Legato or slur.
The thicker straight line might be a part of an ending bar.
The semicircle on the right side might be a twist of a fermata sign.
The rest of the empty space is the music.

Taoists say,
When we shape clay into a vessel,
It is the space within that makes it useful.
When we carve doors and windows,
It is the emptiness of the room that makes it valuable.
The space or the emptiness is marvelous and we often ignore it,
but it contains tremendous value and importance.
The music, which is the essential element, is left in the blank.

Label by Jialu Tang, graduate student in the Arts Administration program at Baruch College.