1958 - 1967

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Hedda Sterne began exploring new themes in her work, expanding beyond the machines, roads, and cityscapes that had inspired her in the previous decade.

In 1963, Sterne was awarded a Fulbright fellowship in painting. Living in Venice, Italy over the next year and a half, her previous abstractions of roads and bridges became new, thin atmospheric lines conveying deep space. She would reflect:

"I get enormous pleasure out of very small contrasts. I don't know to what extent it is an emotional experience or an intellectual pleasure. You know there are knife-edge contrasts in my Vertical-Horizontal pieces. This is what I enjoy - these very, very subtle distinctions in values."

While in Venice, Sterne also experimented in mosaic, exploring many of the same motifs in her pastel drawings.  She would return to the theme of horizons while in residency at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1967, where her work would alternate between new organic forms and the atmospheric lines of the Vertical-Horizontals.

Hedda Sterne, Utah Vertical Horizontal #3, 1958, 70 in. x 70 in.

Hedda Sterne, Studio Diptych, 1960-61, Oil on canvas, 85 in. x 92 in. overall

Hedda Sterne, Vertical Horizontal #1, 1963, Oil on canvas, 96 in. x 70 in.

Hedda Sterne, Horizon II, 1963, oil on canvas, 96 7/8 in. x 70 3/4 in., Collection of Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Purchase: gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Bovard

Hedda Sterne, Horizon Study, 1964, Oil pastel on paper, 19 in. x 14 in., Collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Hedda Sterne, Untitled from "The Vertical Horizontals" suite, 1967, Lithograph (edition of 20), 21 3/4 in. x 14 in.

Hedda Sterne, Alaska I, 1958, Oil on canvas, 71 x 110 in., Collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1958

Hedda Sterne, Untitled, 1960, Wax crayon on cream wove paper, 19 7/16 x 14 3/8 in., Collection of Harvard University Art Museums; gift of the artist, 2003

Hedda Sterne, Vertical-Horizontal #1, 1962, Oil on canvas, 60 in. x 40 in.

Hedda Sterne, Vertical Horizontal #7 1/2, 1963, Oil on canvas, 72 in. x 54 in; Private collection

Hedda Sterne, Horizontal #3, 1965, 58 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in.

Hedda Sterne, Untitled from "The Vertical Horizontals" suite, 1967, Lithograph (edition of 20), 21 3/4 in. x 14 in.

Hedda Sterne, Untitled, 1967, Lithograph (edition of 20), 22 in. x 14 1/2 in.