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1913-1980 American painter Guston had three distinct phases or styles during his artistic career all of them remarkably successful After first working as a muralist in a relatively realistic style he became prominent in the late 1940s and early 1950s as part of the abstract expressionism movement Beginning in the late 1960s his late period of clunky expressive paintings of the human form marked the start of a revolt against the abstract style that had dominated American painting since the early 1950s Born Philip Goldstein in Montreal Canada Guston moved with his Russian-Jewish emigr parents to Los Angeles California in 1919 His father committed suicide in 1920 In 1927 Guston attended Manual Arts High School together with American artist Jackson Pollock both were expelled in 1928 Guston never returned and his only other formal schooling was three months at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1930 In 1935 he moved to New York City and in 1937 married poet Musa McKim and changed his name During World War II 1939-1945 Guston taught art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City During his early artistic phase which lasted from his youth in California until the late 1940s he painted the human form in a style influenced by the abstract geometry of European modernism and the patriotic themes of Mexican mural painting Guston painted murals for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project between 1935 and 1940 executing among other projects a major commission for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair Maintaining Americas Skills now destroyed None of his murals have survived but canvases that he also worked on during this period such as Bombardment 1937-1938 Estate of Philip Guston and The Gladiators 1938 The Edward R Broida Trust Los Angeles are allegories symbolic stories with a strong strain of social protest By the late 1940s Guston was turning increasingly to abstraction and by the early 1950s he was a prominent figure-along with Pollock-in
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