Peter YOUNG, Number 29, 1968 Enlarge 1 /3
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United States of America born 1940

Number 29, 1968 1968 Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Primary Insc: signed and dated verso u.l., pencil, "1968/ Young"
Dimensions: 244.0 h x 274.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1975
Accession No: NGA 75.25
  • the artist;
  • from whom bought by David Whitney, New York, 1970;
  • from whom bought by the Interim Council of the Australian National Gallery, February 1975

In 1967-68 Young developed the 'dot' style, which brought him considerable attention at the time. His aim in using this technique was the same as that for which the technique of pointillism had been developed in the late nineteenth century - the painting of light. Beginning with the familiar assumption that white and light are composed of all colours, Young distributed thick dots of wide-ranging spectral hues evenly over a white ground.

Young's fascination with dots, however, preceded its pointillist application. His first paintings, those from 1963, frequently employed bands of dots reflecting his admiration for primitive decoration, and in Number 29, 1968, one of the last canvases of that year, the dots are configured to create patterns, though in this case they resemble the paisley patterns so popular in the counter-culture of the late 1960s. Shortly afterwards Young characterised his work and that of most of his generation as 'psychedelic painting', a particularly appropriate term for the mobile patterning of Number 29, 1968.1

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.382.

  1. Peter Young, Art Now New York, vol. 1, no. 5, May 1969, p.4.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra