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A founding member of the Abstract Expressionist group known as the New York School, Richard Pousette-Dart began producing large, actively painted compositions of mystically symbolic shapes in the 1940s. Inspired by Native American, African, and Oceanic art, as well as the philosophy of Carl Jung, he strived toward a universal formal language through which to convey transcendent spiritual truths. His finest canvases are complexly constructed and have the effect of emitting light. The artist wrote in 1957. "A work of art for me is a window . . . or a doorway to every other human being. It is my contact and union with the universe."

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