Artwork of the month July

Bill Bollinger, Untitled (Orange / Black (Spray Painting)), ca. 1968

Bill Bollinger

* 1939 Brooklyn, NY, USA, † 1988 Pine Plains, NY, USA

Untitled (Orange / Black (Spray Painting)), ca. 1968

Spray paint on cardboard
36.8 × 58.4 cm
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz


Crossing the Atlantic for his first exhibition outside of the United States at the Rolf Ricke Gallery in Cologne in 1968, the qualified aeronautical engineer Bill Bollinger gives an impressive description of how he perceived the ocean and the horizon:

"I took a few pictures of the sea. I wonder if anyone ever took pictures of the sea before. Not of big waves, ships on the horizon, spectacular clouds or sunsets, but just of the plain old quiet, dull, overpowering sea."

The spray work Untitled (Orange / Black (Spray Painting)) is part of a larger body of works on paper that Bollinger stored on his parents-in-law's farm in Upstate New York in 1972 / 73 and that were discovered there in 2019. Some of the surprisingly colourful spray works depict multiple layered horizon lines, their large number reflecting how the artist develops and explores a visual theme on the basis of countless variations.

With this work, Bollinger uses radically minimalist means to create a painterly study that raises questions about the relationship between image and surface, space and the use of colour. The horizon is not defined by a clear line but instead runs diffusely between the orange and black areas, that fuse into each other in the manner of a cloud. This elicits associations of cosmic nebulae or the hint of a sunset landscape.

Rolf Ricke describes Bollinger as a "painting sculptor" who translates his experience in the three-dimensional onto the two-dimensional surface of the painting support with playful mastery.

Henrik Utermöhle


"Water is life and like art it finds its own level"

Bill Bollinger

<b>Bill Bollinger, Untitled (Orange / Black (Spray Painting)), ca. 1968</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.