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Image Rights
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Copyright retained by the artist


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Philip Guston
unframed 78 × 114-½ × 1 inches
oil on canvas
Not on view

Object Details

Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
In paint front LR “Philip Guston”; In paint reverse UL “ PHILIP GUSTON / "BOMBAY” 1976 / 78 x 114 ½ / OIL ON CANVAS “
Physical Description
Two headless torsos on a red ground in front of a horizontal span of buildings. Behind and above buildings is a blue sky.
Credit Line
Bequest of Musa Guston, 1992

object label Philip Guston, Bombay (1976) Walker Art Center, 1999

You see, I look at my paintings, speculate about them. They baffle me, too. That’s all I’m painting for.–Philip Guston, 1978

In the mid-1960s, having established a reputation as an abstract painter, Philip Guston changed focus, incorporating a range of recognizable subjects into his works. He drew on many sources for his imagery, including Surrealism, Mexican mural painting, and underground comic books. He admits that as a painter he felt disconnected from life in the 1960s: “The war, what was happening in America, the brutality of the world. What kind of man I am, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything–and then going to my studio to adjust a red to a blue. I thought there must be some way I could do something about it.”

Guston maintained that the visible world was “abstract and mysterious enough” as subject matter. As the number of his paintings of shoes, books, hands, buildings, and cars increased, the more enigmatic these objects appeared. The imagery in this painting seems at first to resemble a cityscape, but the artist has transformed it into a cluster of disembodied limbs and floating, mouthless heads.

Label text for Philip Guston, Bombay (1976), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center