Little White Island



Artist: William Kienbusch (1914–1980)
Year: 1950
Medium: Gouache on Watercolor Board
Size: 12 3/4 x 39 inches (32.4 x 99.1 cm)

Exhibited
Los Angeles County Museum, California, Contemporary Painting in the United States, 1951.
Kraushaar Galleries, New York, William Kienbusch, 14 January–2 February 1952, no. 7.


In the summer of 1946, Kienbusch was invited to Trevett, Maine, a small community on the Sheepscot River, not far from Boothbay Harbor. This connection was the beginning of an enduring association with Maine; there he discovered a great affinity for the Maine coast, and especially its islands.

As Kienbusch continued to find his "own style" he found means of expression in the geometry of Marin, the pictorial symbolism of Dove and the organic simplification of natural forms that was typical of Hartley’s work. For his own work he felt that the co-existence of seemingly disparate style, expressionist or rigorously structured  is validated by the need to select the most appropriate means with which to express the varieties of nature's phenomena.  

He employed hard-edged shapes to represent geologic nature and other non-organic subjects, and a more amorphous, gestural approach for organic forms. This kind of encoding began to emerge decisively around 1950. In June of that year, he returned to Stonington, Maine for two weeks, hitching boat rides with local fisherman and exploring the Deer Island Thorofare with its many small islands known as "Merchants Row."

(excerpted from William Kienbuschh (1914–19180) by Donelson Hoopes, 1996)