Anne Truitt American, 1921-2004


Anne Truitt, a major figure in American art for more than 40 years, abandoned work in psychology and nursing in the 1950s to concentrate on art. Truitt drew, painted, and wrote, but she is best known for her large, vertical, wooden sculptures meticulously covered in many coats of paint. “I’ve struggled all my life to get maximum meaning in the simplest possible form,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post in 1987. Although she is often labeled a Minimalist, Truitt’s integration of painting and sculpture, her use of color, and her dedication to the relationship between meaning and form differentiate her work from that movement.


 Truitt grew up in Easton, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Her work has been shown in one-person exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum, also in Washington, D.C., which mounted a retrospective exhibition of her work in 2009. Most recently in 2012, the Delaware Art Museum organized an exhibition of her work exploring the subtleties of light and color through abstract two and three-dimensional forms and the artist’s desire to make light “visible for its own sake.”


Truitt received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and five honorary doctorates, and was acting director of Yaddo, the artists’ retreat in New York, in 1984. She is represented in the collections of many leading museums, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of Art; Dia Art Foundation; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.