Luster Willis

Willis, who often used unconventional materials, drew the three figures here with ballpoint pen and embellished them with bright hues of orange, yellow, and green and sprays of glitter. This scene of an encounter between a nude, huddled couple and a dressed figure holding an infant is based on a 1903 painting by Picasso, La vie (Life). Willis’s interest in Picasso may have been piqued when he served in the army in France during World War II. Standing Together is as ambiguous as Picasso’s somber painting, which was made during a particularly dark time in the Spanish artist’s life, but Willis’s title suggests a more optimistic message.

Luster Willis
American, 1913–1990
Standing Together, 1986
Tempera, glitter, glue, blue ballpoint pen, and graphite
The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection and purchase on the Manley Family Fund, 2018.105r
© 2021 Estate of Luster Willis / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York