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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

American, 1901 - 2002
Oil on canvas

25 x 30 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the Frank Freed Memorial Painting Fund

Arts of North America

A pioneer of Texas Modernism, Toni LaSelle was one of the first Texas painters to commit fully to Abstraction. Her paintings have a vibrant force and compositional confidence that are exceptional, as demonstrated in Puritan.

LaSelle's work of the 1940s offers an important example of Texas Modernism. Influenced by her studies with Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann, she brought a painterly sophistication to her elemental, typically small-scale abstractions. LaSelle painted Puritan over her extended summer visits to Provincetown, the Cape Cod artists' colony where Hofmann's workshop was located. As the title suggests, the composition has a stringent and pared-down purity. The bold, saturated forms, both angular and rounded, are pitted against each other, their cool balance reflecting the rhythms of nature.