Sean Scully, the Art of the Stripe

Sean Scully, the Art of the Stripe

Book - 2008
Rate this:
University Press of New England
A career retrospective centered on the signature stripe motif of one of the most esteemed abstract painters working today
Sean Scully has made the motif of stripes his own, offering through them a sustained exploration of the nature of human relationships. We learn to read his stripes and colored shapes as meditations on, for example, union and disunion, dependence and independence, or harmony and disharmony. But because his images are not figurative, they can seek a universal appeal, color and form being understood by all cultures. This book by Brian Kennedy, Director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, includes interviews with the artist about his career and, in particular, his preoccupation with stripes, as well as essays on the stripe in Western abstract painting and in Sean Scully's work of the past four decades. Scully, described as "the modern-day savior of abstract art" by the Wall Street Journal, is one of the most esteemed abstract painters working today, and the stripe is the key motif in his works. Scully is known for painting bold patterns of vertical, horizontal, and occasionally diagonal stripes in blocks of layered color as a means of exploring the nature of human relationships. He is inspired by aspects of everyday life, from the constructed grids of skyscrapers, strung-out suburbs, railway lines, motorways, and telephone lines to airplane routes, walls, and garage doors. Scully's pursuit of multiple variations on the theme of the painted stripe, bar, and block is consistent with his assertion that "the stripe is a signifier of modernism." In earlier centuries stripes were used to separate outsiders from the rest of society. In the nineteenth century, artists began to adopt the stripe as a symbol of their status as bohemians, and in the early twentieth century, stripes became a mode of expression for many artists, including especially Piet Mondrian, Robert Motherwell, and Frank Stella. Today, the stripe is ubiquitous in society. Sean Scully has made stripes his own, developing through them a visual language based on a sustained examination of classical painting traditions. Art critic Arthur Danto comments on Scully's stripes, "His edges have a tactile beauty. These stripes have a living quality."

Book News
Contemporary painter Sean Scully's pursuit of variations on the stripe, block, and bar, finds its routes in the work of the Symbolists, Henri Matisse, Picasso, and other predecessors. This book presents approximately 50 of Scully's works, most on display in an exhibition of the same title at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. Text includes an overview of the stripe motif in modern abstract painting in Europe and America, a discussion of the artist's basic principles, an interview with Scully, and an afterword on the history of the stripe in Western civilization. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Hanover, N.H. : Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780944722343
Branch Call Number: 759.13 SCULL KENNE
Characteristics: vii, 134 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Additional Contributors: Scully, Sean 1945-
Hood Museum of Art
Notes: Catalog of an exhibition held at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., Jan. 12-Mar. 9, 2008


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top