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Breaking Hue

Morris Louis (American, 1912–1962)


Overall: 104 5/8 x 78in. (265.7 x 198.1cm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Acrylic solution (Magna) on canvas

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art



Breaking Hue bears all the characteristics of Louis’s early experiments with Magna, the specific acrylic paint that he had adopted as his sole medium by 1954. Magna dried more quickly than oil paint and retained its intensity of hue even when diluted. Most importantly, successive pours of paint would partially dissolve lower Magna layers, intermingling colors and forms. Here, Louis first poured washes of highly thinned vivid colors onto the fabric, followed by pours of brown, one of which seems to cross the canvas in the opposite direction. Morris’s technique allowed him to control the flow of the paint but also to accept effects that arose by chance.


The artist; to Mrs. Marcella Louis Brenner, 1962; with André Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1973; to MFA, Boston, 1973

Credit Line

Sophie M. Friedman Fund


© Morris Louis