One of the most important painters of his generation, Sean Scully re-imagines the history of abstraction as an art rooted in experience, one that seeks to purify how we encounter the world.

Sean Scully is known for rich, painterly abstractions in which stripes or blocks of layered color are a prevailing motif. The delineated geometry of his work provides structure for an expressive, physical rendering of color, light, and texture. Scully’s simplification of his compositions and use of repetitive forms—squares, rectangles, bands—echoes architectural motifs (doors, windows, walls) and in this way appeals to a universal understanding and temporal navigation of the picture plane.


However, the intimacy of Scully’s process, in which he layers and manipulates paint with varying brushstrokes and sensibilities, results in a highly sensual and tactile materiality. His colors and their interactions, often subtly harmonized, elicit profound emotional associations. Scully does not shy away from Romantic ideals and the potential for personal revelation. He strives to combine, as he has said, “intimacy with monumentality.”


Sean Scully’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous important institutions including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Tate Modern, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Albertina, Vienna; and Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, among many others.