Les Années romaines
In 1961, Marcia Hafif (1929–2018) left California for Rome, where she hoped to study the colors and textures of Italian Renaissance painting. She painted more than 210 works in Rome, over a period of eight years. The exhibition contained roughly thirty of these, with as many drawings, over four areas of the third floor. Hafif’s painting is based on geometric regularity, anonymous execution, the contrast between two colors rather than between light and shadow, and a rejection of illusionism. In 1964, her palette softened toward more candy-color tones, which some also associated with motherhood. Then she began to free the central space of her paintings, surrounding her blank canvas with two colors. Color was no longer applied to the canvas, it permeated it. Her later paintings have a unique form and counter-form. Her motifs resemble figurative abstractions. Forms veer over to the limits of the canvas, which leans toward the monochrome.