Kenneth Noland

born Asheville, NC 1924-died Port Clyde, ME 2010
Media - noland_kenneth.jpg - 90100
Photograph taken by Fred W. McDarrah. Image is courtesy of the Photographs of artists taken by Fred W. McDarrah collection, 1960-1976 in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Port Clyde, Maine, United States
Active in
  • South Salem, New York, United States
  • American

Kenneth Noland studied at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, a school that encouraged experimental art. Well into the 1950s, the college supported artists of all kinds, from painters who wanted to dance to musicians who wanted to sculpt. In 1949, Noland moved to Washington and was inspired by the work of European artists he saw while "going to church" at the Phillips Collection. He discovered abstract expressionism and began experimenting with unprimed canvases and unusual methods of applying paint. He and the artist Morris Louis had "jam sessions," in which they painted together and bounced ideas off one another. Noland adopted the circle as a way to make a "single expressive entity," and often applied thinned paint to unprimed canvas in a rapid "one shot" attempt to get it right. (Agee, Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963, 1993)


This is a painting of a large black circle and a smaller red circle surrounded by a blue mass.
Color as Field: American Painting, 1950 – 1975
February 29, 2008May 25, 2008
Color as Field: American Painting, 1950–1975 is the first ever full-scale examination of the sources, meaning and impact of the Color Field movement. Color Field painting, which emerged in the United States in the 1950s, is characterized by pouring, staining, spraying or painting thinned paint onto raw canvas to create vast chromatic expanses. These works constitute one of the crowning achievements of postwar American abstract art. The exhibition includes 39 beautiful and impressively scaled paintings by such major figures as Gene Davis, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. Color as Field presents a remarkable opportunity for viewers to fully comprehend the aims of these artists, view their finest works in close relation to each other and experience the beauty and visual magnetism of their pictorial handling of space and color.