Tag Archives: number five

Modern Art Monday Presents: Roulette: Number Five By Mokuma Kikuhata

roulette number five by mokuma kikuhata photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Roulette: Number Five (1964), an assemblage work, is one in a series titled Roulette by Japanese artist Mokuma Kikuhata (19352020). The title refers to a game of chance where players guess where a ball will land within a spinning numbered wheel.  To make this artwork, Kikuhata combined and arranged what he called “everyday objects—used and unwanted,” including a metal pail, a baseball, and a can.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.


Modern Art Monday Presents: I Saw The Figure Five in Gold By Charles Demuth

I Saw the Figure Five in Gold
All Photos By Gail

I Saw the Figure Five in Gold (1928) is one of my favorite modern paintings; one that I have loved since I was in my teens. To be honest, I am a little bit obsessed with it. That might have something to do with the fact that the painting’s title is a complete sentence. “I Saw the Figure Five in Gold” sounds like something you would say in a dream. I bet you didn’t even know that this painting is actually a Portrait that was loosely inspired by a Fire Engine, but it is.

Here is the Story:

Between 1924 and 1929 Charles Demuth completed eight abstract portraits  as tributes to modern American artists, writer, and performers. Though not a physical likeness, Demuth created this portrait of his friend, William Carlos Williams, using imagery from William’s poem, The Great Figure, which evokes sights and sounds of a fire engine speeding down the street. The intersecting lines, repeated “5,” round forms of the numbers, lights, street lamp, and blaring sirens of the red fire engine together infuse the painting with vibrant, urban energy. Demuth derived the painting’s title from the poem, which reads:

Figure Five in Gold Poem

Another fun bit of related trivia to know is that the FDNY Engine 5, stationed at East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues, has this painting hanging just inside the entrance to the garage.

Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.