Sean Scully The Shape of Ideas Timothy Rub, Amanda Sroka

Publication date:
14 Jul 2020
Yale University Press
256 pages: 305 x 248mm
195 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

An extraordinary retrospective of one of the leading abstract painters of our time, surveying the artist’s career from the early 1970s to the present

In a sustained exploration of the possibilities of abstraction, Sean Scully (b. 1945) has created a rich body of work throughout his 50-year career. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas sets his entire output within a detailed biographical framework, closely examining the relationship between the artist’s paintings and his lesser-known drawings, pastels, watercolors, and prints—areas of Scully’s production that are rarely considered together. At the heart of the book is an investigation of the development and reception of Scully’s work based on historical and contemporary reviews as well as extensive interviews with the artist. Featured contributions include a preface by Marla Price, author of Scully’s multivolume catalogue raisonné, and an essay by the poet and art critic Kelly Grovier on the unique contribution Scully has made to the history of abstraction. Published to coincide with the artist’s touring retrospective exhibition, this publication presents sumptuous illustrations and detailed accounts of his most significant bodies of work, offering new insight into his practice. It is an indispensable resource to understanding Scully’s wide-ranging oeuvre and his influential place in contemporary art history.

Timothy Rub is the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, and Amanda Sroka is assistant curator of contemporary art, both at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth 
(June–October 2021)

Philadelphia Museum of Art
(April 12–July 31, 2022)

Sean Scully. The Shape of Ideas is a well overdue overview of his work…It’s a beautifully illustrated volume, with a number of astute essays about Scully and his work.”—Rupert Loydell, International Times