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Post Card, 1964

Llyn Foulkes

American, 1934-
Oil on canvas
63-1/2 x 62-1/4 in. (161.3 x 158.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1966.13
© 2008 Llyn Foulkes

On view

Llyn Foulkes exhibited his work alongside that of many of the West Coast Pop artists in the 1950s and 1960s. He had several shows at the Ferus Gallery and exhibited at the Pasadena Art Museum, including a one-man show in 1962. However, his acerbic cynicism didn’t fit with the slick finish fetish of the Southern California art scene. He soon looked to other venues to show his work, always sending back postcards to show where his art stood at the time.

Post Card, from 1964, is not a postcard at all, but it does exemplify all of the characteristics of the Post Card paintings that Foulkes created between 1963 and 1972. The framing device of several off-set bars on the sides, combined with the artificially created landscape, evoke a sense of nostalgia for a place that may or may not exist. The horizon line and the words “Post Card” make it a landscape; otherwise, it is just an abstract brown shape framed by yellow and gray bars. The words “Post Card” bring the painting into the discourse of commerce by treating it as if it were a public, shared image.

“This is dedicated to the Americans…” is repeated several times; once in whole and twice in part. This phrase, loosely taken from the dedication of the personal memoirs of President Ulysses S. Grant, written in 1885, gives a sense of the artist, or the viewer, ruminating on what it means to be an American.

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