Kenneth Noland: Wikis


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Kenneth Noland
Bridge, 1964
Born April 10, 1924(1924-04-10)
Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.
Died January 5, 2010 (aged 85)
Port Clyde, Maine, U.S.
Nationality American
Field Abstract art
Training Black Mountain College
Movement Color Field painting
Influenced by Helen Frankenthaler, Ilya Bolotowsky, Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, Josef Albers

Kenneth Noland (April 10, 1924 – January 5, 2010[1]) was an American abstract painter. He was one of the best-known American Color field painters, although in the 1950s he was thought of as an abstract expressionist and in the early 1960s he was thought of as a minimalist painter. Noland helped establish the Washington Color School movement. In 1977 he was honored by a major retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York that then traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. and the Toledo Museum of Art, in Ohio in 1978. In 2006 Noland's Stripe Paintings were exhibited at the Tate in London.



Kenneth Noland, Beginning, magna on canvas painting by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1958

Early life and education

A son of Harry Caswell Noland (1896-1975), a pathologist, and his wife, Bessie (1897-1980), Kenneth Clifton Noland was born in Asheville, North Carolina. He had four siblings: Lawrence, Billie, Neil, and Harry Jr.[2][3]

A veteran of World War II Noland took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study art at Black Mountain College in his home state of North Carolina.[4] He attended the experimental Black Mountain College (two of his brothers studied art there as well) and studied with Ilya Bolotowsky, a professor who introduced him to Neo-plasticism and the work of Piet Mondrian. There Noland also studied Bauhaus theory and color under Josef Albers[5] and he became interested in Paul Klee, specifically his sensitivity to color.[6]


In 1948 and 1949 Noland worked with Ossip Zadkine in Paris, and had his first exhibition of his paintings there. In the early 1950s he met Morris Louis in Washington DC. He became friends with Louis, and after being introduced by Clement Greenberg to Helen Frankenthaler and seeing her new paintings at her studio in New York City in 1953 he and Louis adopted her “soak-stain” technique of allowing thinned paint to soak into unprimed canvases.[7]

Most of Noland's paintings fall into one of four groups: circles, or targets (see Beginning illustrated), chevrons, (see infobox), stripes, and shaped canvases. His preoccupation with the relationship of the image to the containing edge of the picture led him to a series of studies of concentric rings, or bull’s-eyes, or as they were known - Targets - like the one reproduced here called Beginning from 1958, using unlikely color combinations. This also led him away from Morris Louis in 1958. In 1964 he was included in the exhibition Post-Painterly Abstraction curated by Clement Greenberg [8]which traveled the country and helped to firmly establish Color Field painting as an important new movement in the contemporary art of the 1960s. Noland pioneered the shaped canvas, initially with a series of symmetrical and asymmetrical diamonds or chevrons. In these paintings, the edges of the canvas become as structurally important as the center. During the 1970s and 1980s his shaped canvases were highly irregular and asymmetrical. These resulted in increasingly complex structures of highly sophisticated and controlled color and surface integrity. In 1964 Noland occupied half the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 1965 his work was exhibited at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum (New York). In 1949 he had his first solo exhibition: Kenneth Noland, at the Galerie Creuze, in Paris. In 1957 he had the first solo exhibition of his paintings in New York at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery[9] and he had the final solo exhibition of his lifetime - Kenneth Noland Shaped Paintings 1981-82, which opened Oct 29 2009 at the Leslie Feely Fine Art Gallery on E.68th St. in New York City and was scheduled to close January 9th 2010, though, the closing date was later extended to January 16th. [10]

Selected museum collections

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.; Kunsthaus, Zurich; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Personal life

He was married to:[11]

  • Cornelia Langer, a daughter of a Republican U. S. senator from North Dakota, William Langer. The couple married in 1950 and later divorced. They had three children: daughters Cady and Lyndon (aka Lyn) and a son, William.[12][13]
  • Stephanie Gordon, a psychologist, lived with Noland from November 1964 until June 1970. They married April 1967 and divorced June 1970.[14]
  • Peggy L. Schiffer, an art historian and daughter of Dr. Morton A. Schiffer.[4] Married circa 1969, the Nolands had one son, Samuel Jesse.[15][5][16][6]
  • Paige Rense, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, whom he married in Bennington, Vermont, on 10 April 1994.[7][17]

Noland had an affair in the 1960s with artist and socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer.[18]


Noland died on January 5, 2010 of kidney cancer in his home in Port Clyde, Maine.[1]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Roberta (January 5, 2010). "Kenneth Noland, Color Field Artist, Is Dead at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2010.  
  2. ^ Parents' names and siblings from, found in 1930 North Carolina Federal Census as well as the North Carolina Birth Register listing of Noland's birth. Records accessed on 7 January 2010.
  3. ^ Noland's younger brother Neil (born 1927) became a sculptor, and like his brother Kenneth, he studied art at Black Mountain College, as did their brother Harry.
  4. ^ Obituaries state Noland was drafted in 1942 and served until 1946. An official enlistment record, however, states Noland, then 20, joined the Army Air Corps Reserves as a private at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi, on 24 May 1944. The record was accessed on on 7 January 2010.
  5. ^ retrieved February 8, 2008
  6. ^ retrieved December 30, 2007
  7. ^ Terry Fenton, online essay about Kenneth Noland, and acrylic paint, [1] accessed April 30th, 2007
  8. ^ "Clement Greenberg". Post-Painterly Abstraction. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  9. ^ Terry Fenton, online about Kenneth Noland, [2] accessed January 6th, 2010
  10. ^ Artnet
  11. ^ Writer, artist, and arts administrator Michael Fallon has claimed that his maternal grandmother, Billie Ruth Sinclair (7 July 1925 - 2008), was Noland's first wife and that their brief marriage took place in Asheville, North Carolina in the mid 1940s. He wrote about the marriage in a 2007 essay on the website of Minnesota Artists (, a joint project of the Walker Arts Center and the McKnight Foundation.[3] A search on on 7 January 2010 revealed Kenneth C. Noland's Army Air Corps enlistment record, dated 24 May 1944, at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi, in which Pvt. Noland declares his marital status as married, though the name of his wife is not listed.
  12. ^ Noland's children have followed in their father's artistic footsteps. Cady Noland (born 1956) is an installation artist and Conceptual sculptor, Lyn Noland is a sculptor and Emmy award-winning camerawoman, and William Langer Noland is a photographer and sculptor and serves as an associate professor of the visual arts at Duke University.
  13. ^ Current Biography Yearbook 1972, page 330
  14. ^ World Artists, 1950-1980 (H. W. Wilson, 1980), page 626
  15. ^ Matt Schudel, "Kenneth Noland, 85: Abstract Painter, a founder of Washington Color School", The Washington Post, 7 January 2010
  16. ^ "Painting: Bold Emblems", Time, 18 April 1969
  17. ^ Date and place of marriage established through and viewing of the Vermont Marriage Index, 1989-2001.
  18. ^ Sally Bedell Smith, Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House (Random House, 2005), page 234


  • Gowing, L (ed.) 1995, A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Rev. edn, Andromeda Oxford Limited, Oxfordshire.

Further reading

  • "Kenneth Noland." Contemporary Artists, 4th ed. St. James Press, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005.
  • "Kenneth Noland." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005.

External links


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