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Richard Pousette-Dart was a self-taught artist who became the youngest member of the influential Abstract Expressionist group that formed in New York in the 1940s. Like other artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, Pousette-Dart felt that abstract painting could give form to universal myths and human truths. While the imagery embedded in the richly textured interlocking forms of Eagle’s Nest is in many ways enigmatic, there are forms that suggest eyes and bird or animal body parts. This abstract imagery relates to a wide variety of sources, such as archaic pictographs, Native American and African art, as well as paintings by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.
During his career, Pousette-Dart created works that convey a belief in the idea of a collective unconscious, as posited in Carl Jung’s theory of psychoanalysis that was very influential at the time. Jung’s theory revolved around the notion that all human beings share innate psychic archetypes that govern human behavior. As he explained just a year after painting Eagle’s Nest, “I strive to express the spiritual nature of the universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real.”