This, the last of six "goldfish" paintings, is certainly
one of the artist's very greatest works. Alfred Barr finds the
overlapping triangles in the upper right corner "unresolved,"
and they do seem too unmotivated for the rest of the picture,
whose abstractness consists in simplification and compression,
not free invention. Yet the whole needs this "fault"
as it also needs the muddiness of color and plane just below
it (though the picture could stand a cleaning). The main structure
triumphs by its economical and monumental clarity. Every line,
faired to straightness or an exact curve, delivers its full force
to the surface design.
The broad black-gray band uniting top and bottom of the picture
(plate 18) here covers only part of the canvas's width. Inside
it we read, as Mr. Barr says, rather than feel the space
occupied by the table. As in Cubism, almost every plane is ambiguous
and can be seen as on the surface or behind it: thus the transparent
wedge of the tabletop lets the background come forward to the
actual surface, yet its blue also insists on retreating -- in
part because it is such a cool, out-of-doors color.