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Sept. 30 Art Minute: John Koch, Hanging Clothes

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
John Koch (American, 1909-1978), Hanging Clothes. Oil on canvas, 1950. Museum purchase, 1952.97

John Koch is best known for urban interior scenes, but here we find a more rural one in which outdoors and indoors are connected through a broad open doorway. According to the artist’s wife, Dora Koch, this canvas shows the artist painting in his garage at Setauket, Long Island, where he lived from 1941. Dora posed for the seated figure reading the newspaper, and probably also for the woman hanging clothes.

During the last 30 years of his life, Koch often painted the theme of the artist at work. Indeed, blank and nearly blank rectangles abound: compare the dappled surface of the angled canvas at which Koch stands to the clean sheets draped over the clothes line, and even to the newspaper Dora reads along the righthand edge of this painting, or to the shiny metal shovel hovering above her head.

This work is currently on view in gallery 06.