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.