Keneth Noland was an American artist and innovator of color field painting. After serving in the United States Air Force from 1942-46, Noland took advantage of the GI Bill to attend Black Mountain College, where he studied under Joseph Albers. In 1953, he visited Helen Frankenthaler’s studio with Morris Lewis and the critic Clement Greenberg whom Noland had met Black Mountain in 1950. There they saw the artist’s seminal canvas “Mountains and the Sea” technically remarkable for the way the artist applied a thin wash of acrylic paint directly to the surface of the unprimed canvas. Following this experience, Noland began “staining” the surface of his unprimed canvases directly. He is best known for his works that employ a variety of fixed compositional devices including “Circles”, “Chevrons”, and “Stripes.” Working within a pre-determined structure allowed the artist to foreground his exploration of color.
Noland was featured in a number of international survey exhibitions that helped define American art in the 1960s: the Venice Biennale XXXII, organized by Alan Solomon of the Jewish Museum; Documenta 4, the final Documenta organized by founder Arnold Bode; “Post-Painterly Abstraction” curated by Clement Greenberg at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964; “The Responsive Eye” curated by William C. Seitz at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1965; and “New York Painting and Sculpture, 1940-1970,” curated by Henry Geldzahler at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1969. Noland’s work is included in countless museum collections in the US and internationally. His 1977 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York traveled extensively. More recent notable exhibitions include “Action/Abstraction” at the Jewish Museum, New York, 2007. In May 2010 the Guggenheim mounted the exhibition “Kenneth Noland, 1924-2010: A Tribute,” to honor the late artist and his long history with the museum.