• 1

    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Along the Waterfront, 1940, oil on canvas, 34" x 30 ½”, Jefferson High School, Portland, Oregon

    Along the Waterfront, painted for the Oregon WPA, is one of several scenes by Bunce of the westside embankment of the Willamette River in Portland. The scene depicts the area of today’s Tom McCall Park, with the Hawthorne Bridge and the towers of the Portland Public Market (demolished in 1969) in view. Bunce’s viewpoint for this and several other riverside paintings, all evoking Depression-era Portland, is the small plaza on the seawall at the west end of the bridge.
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    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Burned Land No. 2, 1951, oil on canvas, 45" x 22 7/8", collection of Olivia Leiken Schmierer 

    The inspiration for this painting was the “Tillamook Burn,” the series of forest fires in the Oregon Coast Range that began in 1933 and struck at six-year intervals through 1951. It was an iconic Oregon subject that the writer and conservationist Stewart Holbrook encouraged Oregon artists to paint. Burned Land No. 2 was in the Biennial for 1951−1952 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
  • 3

    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Beach—Low Tide No. 2, 1954, oil on canvas, 57" x 42 3/16”, collection of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer

    Beach, Low Tide No. 2 sets forth many of the elements of composition, texture, palette, and light-dark contrasts that occur in Bunce’s work over decades and through many stylistic explorations. It epitomizes his practice of using landscape as a vehicle for abstraction, and, in turn, abstraction as a means for responding to nature—in this case, the ebb and flow of the tides on the Oregon coast.
  • 5

    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Big Green, 1960, oil on mattress ticking, 71 5/8" x 66”, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, gift of Michele Russo, 1995.3

    Big Green is from a series painted in 1960 inspired by the season of spring. “I get saturated with the idea of green and yellow of the springtime, and that is enough to push me into a whole series of paintings,” Bunce stated. With these wowrks, Bunce fully embraced for the first time the gestural brushwork of Abstract Expressionist painting.
  • 2

    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Apple, 1968, oil on canvas, 41" x 48”, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, gift of Herb and Lucy Pruzan, 2013.22.2

    In the late 1960s, Bunce painted graphically realistic renderings of oversized apples and roses. He understood that Abstract Expressionism lay in the past, and the roses and apples serve as his version of Pop Art. 
  • 6

    Louis Bunce, (American, 1907-1983), Blue Landscape, 1978, oil on canvas, 69" x 84”, collection of Dorothy and Brooks Cofield

    In the late 1970s, Bunce’s work reached a dramatic climax in the series of canvases that he painted for his solo exhibition at the Portland Center for the Visual Arts in 1978. These pieces, including Blue Landscape, are large, spacious compositions that refer to natural forms such as mountains, horizons, beaches, and water, but in terms of painting itself: colors, lines, and textures spread out on the flat surface of a canvas. 

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