Object Image

Starry Night and the Astronauts

After decades as a representational painter, in her seventies Alma Thomas turned to abstraction, creating shimmering, mosaic-like fields of color with rhythmic dabs of paint that were often inspired by forms from nature. The artist had been fascinated with space exploration since the late 1960s, and her later paintings often referenced America’s manned Apollo missions to the moon. Although she had never flown, Thomas began to paint as if she were in an airplane, capturing what she described as shifting patterns of light and streaks of color. “You look down on things,” she explained. “You streak through the clouds so fast.... You see only streaks of color.”

Starry Night and the Astronauts evoke...

Acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 134.6cm
Image and text courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago, 2019

Where you'll find this

Art Institute of Chicago
Permanent collection