Detail View

The Sense of Smell
Date: 1987
Culture: American
Dimensions: canvas: 5 ft. 5 3/4 in. x 48 in. (167 x 121.9 cm) frame: 5 ft. 8 in. x 50 1/2 in. x 2 3/8 in. (172.7 x 128.3 x 6 cm)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanche Hull Fund Purchase
Label Text: Jack Beal's tight, controlled handling of paint creates a "true-to-life" or representational painting that follows in a long tradition of American realism. After the decades dominated by the Abstract Expressionist, Pop Art, and Minimalist styles, representational painting resurfaced with renewed vigor in the 1980s. This work is one of a series exploring the four senses. Beal invites us into a warmly lit interior space where the air is seemingly thick with perfume. A young woman sniffs a large flower, a Night-Blooming Cereus, also known as "Queen of the Night." The artist accurately portrays the flower, which needs bright interior light and only blooms for a few hours between 8 p.m. and midnight in the summer. It is a magical, sensual experience that is expertly captured by Beal in paint.
Object Number: 1996/7.5
Currently on view