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An abstract painting of bold black and white lines and swirls highlighted with blue on a white background.

The painting is dominated by a bold black shape which rises from the lower right corner swirling in bold lines interspersed with white strokes folding back on themselves. Blue highlights outline and sometimes fill in the black swirls. The black form fills most of the picture space.

Gallery Text

After World War II, Götz emerged in Germany as a major proponent of abstract painting, known more broadly as art informel. In 1952 he abandoned oil paint for casein (a milk-based paint), which he applied to canvas primed with glue and then quickly manipulated with a blade or hard-edged squeegee. In June 1954/II, dynamic black forms on the white surface, highlighted with touches of blue, complicate the relationship between figure and ground, creating, as one critic called it at the time, “whipped space.” This work is the product of a few concentrated flicks of the wrist and sweeps of the arm, but by the late 1950s Götz’s canvases had grown in size to rival those of his American contemporaries and demanded the movement of the artist’s entire body. Like Jackson Pollock, Götz placed his canvases flat on the floor, but he used an array of long-handled brushes and tools of his own design to create his signature style.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
K. O. Götz, German (Aachen, Germany 1914 - 2017 Niederbreitbach-Wolfenacker, Germany)
June 1954/II
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Juni 1954/II
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1200, Modern and Contemporary Art, Mid–century Abstraction I
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Physical Descriptions

Wallpaper paste and casein paint on canvas
70 x 70 cm (27 9/16 x 27 9/16 in.)
framed: 71.4 × 71.4 × 3.2 cm (28 1/8 × 28 1/8 × 1 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l., in black paint: K.O. Götz
  • inscription: on verso, on canvas in black paint: K.O. Götz//Juni 1954/II//Karin Götz zugeeignet//July 76
  • inscription: on verso, on stretcher in black: Eigentum Karin Götz
  • label: on verso, on stretcher, on label: Sammlung Karin Götz (Rissa)


Recorded Ownership History
The artist, gift; to a private collection, 1976, gift; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2012

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Ströher 1954-55

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Anonymous gift
© K.O. Götz / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • K. O. Götz, K. O. Götz. Erinnerungen und Werk, Concept Verlag (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1983), Vol. I, p. 681, cat. no. 765, col. ill.
  • Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, ed., K.O. Götz. Monotypien, Gemälde, Gouachen 1935-1983, exh. cat. (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1985), p. 129, cat. no. 50, p. 68, col. ill.
  • Ina Hesselmann, K. O. Götz. Werkverzeichnis in zwei Bänden, Wienand Verlag (Cologne, Germany, 2014), p. 171, cat. no. 1954-55, col. ill.
  • Cate McQuaid, "'Inventur' looks at German art in the wake of WWII", The Boston Globe (Boston, MA, 2018)
  • Lynette Roth, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), pp. 372-374, cat. no. 53.1, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

  • K. O. Götz. Monotypien, Gemälde, Gouachen 1935-1983, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 06/16/1984 - 07/22/1984; Modern Gallery of the Saarlandmuseum, 09/07/1984 - 10/07/1984; Galerie der Stadt Esslingen, Villa Merkel, 12/14/1984 - 01/27/1985
  • K. O. Götz, Oberhessisches Landesmuseum im Alten Schloss, 03/13/1985 - 05/12/1985
  • K. O. Götz, MB Art Galerie Marlies Breitling, 01/01/1987 - 01/01/1987
  • 32Q: 1200 Mid-Century Abstraction I (Painterly Abstraction), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/10/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/09/2018 - 01/01/2050
  • Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/09/2018 - 06/03/2018

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Verification Level

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