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Mass Tone: Manganese Blue

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Marcia Hafif
American, (1929-2018)

About this artwork

Since the early 1970s, Marcia Hafif has systematically examined the historical and technical fundamentals of painting. Her body of work is rigorous and investigative, with a resolute concentration on color manifested by exquisitely complex monochrome paintings. Hafif often employs paint mixtures she has made herself, grinding a pigment with a muller and combining it with linseed oil. Mass Tone: Manganese Blue, titled after the specific pigment used, is from the first series of paintings for which Hafif created her own paints in this way. Unlike commercial paint from the tube, which contains various additives and binders, her handmade paints can behave unpredictably. As Hafif has stated, this patient technique was chosen because it “let a color … express itself, reveal its multiple nuances.” Her process invites us to perceive each particular paint mixture as matter rather than simply as color.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Marcia Hafif


Mass Tone: Manganese Blue


United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1974


Oil on canvas


96.5 × 96.5 cm (38 × 38 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Society for Contemporary Art

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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