Ray Spillenger
Untitled (Zig 1)
about 1965

Buyer Protection Guaranteed


In the late 1960s, Ray Spillenger executed a series referred to today as the "zigs." "Untitled (Zig 1)" marks a transition in Spillenger’s process. Responding to the change in art from abstract to postmodern, Spillenger introduced a decentralized composition onto his canvas. Using masking tape to section off distinctive coats of paint, the composition works within a limited, muted palette, with pops of vibrant colors. Although the paint in "Untitled (Zig 1)" is meant to look spontaneous, the brush strokes are heavy, revealing a slow and purposeful application. While he was a methodical painter who worked on one painting at a time, Spillenger did not spend time over-analyzing his execution. Paul Spillenger, the artist’s son, once recalled his father’s instructions on applying paint to his canvas, stating “just get it out there, once it’s on there, smooth it out.”

Second generation Abstract Expressionist Ray Spillenger has been described as “the most brilliant unknown painter of his generation” by artist Pat Passlof. His studies began at Black Mountain College in 1948 where he studied under Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers alongside Elaine de Kooning, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage. Throughout the 1950s, Spillenger immersed himself in the downtown co-operative exhibition spaces known collectively as the “Tenth Street Galleries.” From 1953 to 1955, Spillenger’s work was included among the “Stable Annuals,” at the Stable Gallery in New York City. Spillenger’s work was featured in 10th Street, a group show held at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and in a solo exhibition at the Great Jones Gallery in New York City.
Ray Spillenger (1924-2013)
Creation Year
about 1965
Oil Paint
Movement & Style
Abstract Expressionist
20 in. H x 30 in. W
Dealer Location
New York, NY
Number of Items
Reference Number
Hirschl & Adler
The Crown Building
730 5th Ave., 4th Flr
New York NY 10019
(646) 762-7530
  • Art Dealers Association of America
1stdibs Gallery since 2010 Located in New York, NY
Contact dealer

Your Message