Brice Marden | Elements I | 1982
Oil on canvas, four panels, overall (213.4 x 129.5 cm).
Daros Collection, Switzerland
Brice Marden thought of himself as a romantic artist, eliciting emotion from viewers by creating paintings within strict limitations. This paradox is seen in the deeply human presence in his abstract, geometric works. His early pictures show this subjectivity through their delicate surfaces and referential titles. The Tremaines were so taken with the artist's work that in 1982 they traded a Roy Lichtenstein painting for two Marden pieces, one of which was the classically inspired Elements I. Alluding to earth, water, fire, and air, Elements I has four columns under a single horizontal beam, referencing post and lintel architecture. It may have been inspired by Marden's trips to the Aegean island of Hydra, where he was greatly influenced by the Grecian marble, light, and landscape.