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A painting of vertical swathes in lightly applied color on a background of pale cream white.

The painting is a series of vertical swathes which take up most of the picture space. The visible background is pale cream white and is not primed or painted canvas. The block of colors have been applied thinly in wide swathes with loosely defined swathes of green gray, red, and taupe framed by swathes shades of purple on left and right sides. The swathes are narrower at the bottom and widen at the top with a feather-like texture. A series of four slightly rounded dark shapes border the bottom of the block of colors.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Morris Louis, American (Baltimore, MD 1912 - 1962 Washington, DC)
Blue Veil
Work Type
c. 1958
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Acrylic resin paint on canvas
233.1 x 396.2 cm (91 3/4 x 156 in.)
framed: 236.2 x 399.4 x 5.4 cm (93 1/8 x 156 15/16 x 2 3/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Morris Louis, Painted, 1958, to wife Marcella Louis, later Mrs. Abner Brenner.
Mrs. Abner Brenner, from her husband, the artist, Sold to Fogg Art Museum, 1965. Sold via Andre Emmerich gallery.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Lois Orswell and Gifts for Special Uses Fund
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • Jules David Prown and Barbara Rose, American Painting: From the Colonial Period to the Present, Skira Rizzoli (New York), ill.
  • Morris Louis Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY, 1963), no. 122, reproduced in color no. 9
  • Hilton Kramer, "Notes on Paintings in New York", Arts Yearbook (New York, NY, 1964), VII, reproduced in B/W, p. 15
  • Jose Gutierrez and Nicholas Roukes, Painting with Acrylics, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY, 1965), reproduced p. 32
  • Michael Fried, "'Blue Veil' by Morris Louis", Fogg Art Museum Acquisitions, 1965, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1966), pp. 177-181, reproduced on p. 179
  • Barbara Rose, American Painting: The Twentieth Century, Skira (New York, NY, 1969), ill. p. 103
  • Michael Fried, Morris Louis, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1971), reproduced, plate 33
  • Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 162, ill.
  • American History: A Survey, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY, 1975), Reproduced in color, plate 9
  • John Wilmerding, "Harvard and American Art", Apollo (June 1978), vol. CVII, no. 196, pp. 490-495, p. 492, pl. XXIV
  • Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press, 1985). With an essay by John Coolidge and a preface by John M. Rosenfield. To accompany the inaugural exhibition at the Sackler Museum, Oct 21 1985 - Jan 5 1986, reproduced in color, fig. 68, p. 74
  • Diane Upright, Morris Louis: The Complete Paintings, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1985), np. 126, p. 203, reproduced in color, p. 144
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 237, p. 207, repr. in color
  • Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, The Painter's Eye: Learning to Look at Contemporary American Art, Delacourte Press (New York, NY, 1991), reproducd in color, pp. 54-55
  • H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art for Young People, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1992), reproduced in color no. 451, p. 444
  • Duane Preble and Sarah Preble, Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts, Harper Collins College Publishers (New York, NY, 1994), reproduced in color, fig. 213, p. 155
  • H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art [5th ed.], Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1995), p. 800, reproduced in color fig. 1102
  • Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), ill. p. 228

Exhibition History

  • American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972
  • Contemporary Art in the Fogg Collections, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/01/1979 - 06/01/1979
  • Modern Art at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/21/1985 - 01/05/1986
  • Morris Louis in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 07/01/1986 - 09/07/1986
  • Morris Louis, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 10/01/1986 - 01/04/1987
  • 32Q: 1110 Mid-Century Abstraction II (Post-Painterly Abstraction), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/07/2015 - 10/04/2021

Subjects and Contexts

  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at