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Selected Works

Untitled (Weave), 2023

oil on aluminium
215.9 x 190.5 cm.; 85 x 75 in.
Private Collection

‘My work is a way of emotionalizing or individualizing or humanizing the structures that actually dominate us. That’s really the agenda in the work. We are living in a world made by walls and grids, a world of geometry and hyper-structures. My work is a way of dealing with that, and making it poetic, deep and profound.’

S. Scully and M. Gnyp, ‘Interview: Sean Scully’, in YOU, ME AND ART, January 2022

Wall Landline Dark Yellow, 2021

oil on aluminium
215.9 x 190.5 cm.; 85 x 75 in.
Collection: Centre Georges Pompidou, Collection du musée national d'art moderne, Paris

Dark Windows, 2020

oil on aluminium, in 5 panels
each: 215.9 x 190.5 cm.; 85 x 75 in.
Private Collection

Opulent Ascension, 2019

felt on wood
overall dimensions variable
Installation view: Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 2019
Private Collection

‘Matissian, vivid colors define the felted horizontal modules of Opulent Ascension (2019), a monumental edifice that articulated the interior space of the basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in 2019. Over ten meters tall, this structural model incorporates so many of the inherent properties of painting, sculpture, and architecture, only to separate them from these typologies as well: here the felt support acts as a plinth that itself acts as a towering architectural construction. Light, color, and space condition the mobile participant’s experience, where the work invites the subject through its entryway into a soaring spatial realm whose absent ceiling recalls the oculus of the Pantheon in Rome.’

R. Sarkissian, ‘Sean Scully: A Wound in a Dance with Love’, in The Brooklyn Rail, September 2022

Ghost Maker, 2018

oil, oil pastel and spray paint on aluminium
190.5 x 215.9 cm.; 75 x 85 in.
Private Collection

What Makes Us Too, 2017

oil, acrylic and oil pastel on aluminium
299.7 x 571.5 cm.; 118 x 225 in.
Private Collection

Landline 12.12.17, 2017

pastel on paper
152.4 x 102.9 cm.; 60 x 40 1/2 in.
Private Collection

‘The Landlines are really an attempt to guide us to look at or feel the natural world – its importance, its beauty, its life affirming vitality. The Landlines have opened up a lot of possibilities with regard to color. The bands go from one side of the painting to the other so the paintings seem to pulsate.’

S. Scully, ‘On The Horizon: A Conversation with Sean Scully’, in The 12 / Dark Windows, exh. cat., New York: Lisson Gallery, 2021, p. 9

Eleuthera, 2016

oil on aluminium
215.9 x 190.5 cm.; 85 x 75 in.
Private Collection

Titian's Robe, 2008

oil on aluminium
279.6 x 407.2 cm.; 110 1/8 x 160 1/4 in.
Collection: Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Wall of Light Cubed, 2007

400 x 2000 x 800 cm.; 157 1/2 x 787 3/8 x 315 in.
Collection: Château La Coste Le Puy-Sainte Réparade

‘Scully’s walls are incorporeal and material at the same time: they are attached to the human world, yet they also seem to transcend it. The walls are built from light and colour, but also from a mass of solid paint, and they constantly open up new visual and semantic layers, even as they close in on themselves. Simultaneously one can interpret them as closed and open structures, as formations of concealment and revelation.’

D. Fehér, ‘Behind the Wall: Figures and Grounds in the Art of Sean Scully’, in Sean Scully: Passenger – A Retrospective, exh. cat., Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, 2020, p. 9

Aran, 2005

black and white photographs, in 24 parts
each: 40.6 x 50.8 cm.; 16 x 20 in.
edition of 6
Private Collection

Wall of Light White, 1998

oil on canvas, in 2 parts
overall: 243.9 x 274.3 cm.; 96 x 108 in.
Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

‘My work is based on immersion. I am immersed in a very different set of parameters and aspirations. I am taking on the history of art, I'm immersed in it, and I'm immersed in what I make. I am what I make in other words; there is no difference.’

S. Scully and R. E. Davis, ‘Interview with R. Eric Davis: Why do you Make Art?’, in Journal of Contemporary Art, 1999, n.p.

Passenger Black Red Red, 1998

oil on linen
122.2 x 109.2 cm.; 48.1 x 43 in.
Private Collection

‘The Passenger paintings form an enigmatically beautiful group of works in Sean Scully’s oeuvre. In these pictures, the ground has another picture inside it – an inset, as the artist calls it – , which in every case is shifted from the composition’s vertical axis of symmetry. It is as though the inset had moved or were still in motion. The insets can be interpreted as lingering moving figures, solitary human figures passing across the horizon.’

D. Fehér, ‘THE PASSENGER: An Introduction’, in Sean Scully: Passenger – A Retrospective, exh. cat., Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, 2020, p. 121

Floating Painting Munich Triptych, 1996

oil on metal
overall dimensions variable
Collection: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

Union Yellow, 1994

oil on linen
213.4 x 243.8 cm.; 84 x 96 in.
Private Collection

A Bedroom in Venice, 1988

oil on linen
243.8 x 304.8 cm.; 96 x 120 in.
Collection: The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Mexico 4.6.88, 1988

watercolour and pencil on paper
30.5 x 40.6 cm.; 12 x 16 in.
Private Collection

‘What is astonishing about the works on paper is the way Scully has been able to adapt the spirit of his formal vocabulary to the quite different demands of other media – like watercolour, for example, or pastel. The bars and stripes and checkerboard squares of oil paintings have a layered quality – they are visibly built up, layer upon layer, with the submerged layers allowed to show through the final one.’

A. C. Danton, ‘Sean Scully and the Art of Painting’, in Sean Scully: Passenger – A Retrospective, exh. cat., Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, 2020, p. 93

Heart of Darkness, 1982

oil on linen
243.8 x 365.8 cm.; 96 x 144 in.
Collection: Art Institute of Chicago

Backs and Fronts, 1981

oil on linen and canvas
243.8 x 609.6 cm.; 96 x 240 in.
Private Collection

Inset #2

acrylic on canvas
243.8 x 243.8 cm.; 96 x 96 in.
Private Collection 

‘There’s a restlessness in me and I’m not willing just to settle into something unchecked.So each part of this is checking the other or critiquing the other. It’s the whole world in a sense. It’s not only two different kinds of illusion or space but it’s two different traditions. That is really the big argument in the painting.’

S. Scully, ‘Firing On All Cylinders’, in Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020, p. 25

Harvard, 1972

wood and felt
243.8 x 304.8 x 91.4 cm.; 96 x 120 x 36 in.
Private Collection 

Backcloth, 1970

acrylic on canvas
198.1 x 304.8 cm.; 78 x 120 in.
Private Collection

‘I’d build up something that was based on the grid, as you can see, or the cross, the intersection of things, the one thing holding together another thing. There’s a kind of binding in the early paintings – there’s always a cross of one kind or another, a diagonal crossing, or weaving, or a vertical one, but there’s always a cross – and what occurred to me recently is that when I came to the USA my cross became uncrossed.’

S. Scully, ‘Duncan Phillips Lecture, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 18 October 2005’, in Inner: The Collected Writings and Selected Interviews of Sean Scully, Berlin: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2016, p. 183

Untitled (Seated Figure), 1967

oil on canvas
105.4 x 74.9 cm.; 41.5 x 29.5 in.
Private Collection 

Unless otherwise stated:
© Sean Scully. Photo: courtesy of the artist