Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

Alexandra Truitt

Art Vent Letting the Fresh Air In

May 9, 2008
Anne Truitt, Valley Forge, 1962

As a child I had to fight for abstraction (“It’s a besign!” I’d insist to the teachers who challenged me). But everything’s relative. The other night my friend, Alexandra Truitt, daughter of the late sculptor, Anne Truitt, told me that, filled as the family home was with work by Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Noland, she was nine before she realized paintings could also be pictures. Of things.

She described living in Japan (where her father was bureau chief for Newsweek) and excitedly bringing a book of paintings by Keane, which she’d found at school, to her horrified parents at the dining table:

This was her next crush:

Sakamoto Kyu

I guess there’s no such thing as a “normal” childhood.

June 25, 2007
Ever since I’ve known her—a long time—my friend, Alexandra, has wanted a Saarinen Womb Chair, the chair she grew up with, grew up in, as she puts it—and I’ve always had trouble picturing this icon of modern design in Alexandra’s house, a profusion of pillows, overstuffed couches, art, artifacts from her travels, lap blankets, lap dogs, and so on. Each time I go there I come back feeling that my environment, with its uncluttered surfaces, leather and chrome is too ascetic—and Alexandra says that after visiting me she’s overwhelmed with the desire to go home and throw everything out. Well yesterday I went to see her and there it was, the Womb Chair, in her living room next to the colonial fireplace. And, as you can see, it fits in perfectly. I wonder if Saarinen anticipated needlepoint bunnies.