Alissa Blumenthal: works from the 1960s


As a Modernist painter, Blumenthal believed in the existence of universally significant forms and ideas that could be revealed through abstraction. In the early 1960s she embarked on a long-term project of uncovering the hidden meaning of abstract images. She worked as a poet, cryptographer and philosopher, sorting through images, words and concepts, analyzing their formal, semantic and syntagmatic relationships. Her major achievement from this period consists of a series of small canvases called “Morphemes” - the lexicon of what she called a “secret language” of abstraction - which she often arranged in grammatical sequences.


  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

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    Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Alissa Blumenthal, Morpheme, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in., ca. 1960s

  • Lexicon, pencil on paper, 9 x 12 in., undated