Color Field

Color Field

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Color Field'
Start a new discussion about 'Color Field'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 and closely related to Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

, while many of its notable early proponents were among the pioneering Abstract Expressionists. Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favour of an overall consistency of form and process.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, Color field painters emerged in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Washington, DC and the West Coast of the United States
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 using formats of stripes, targets, simple geometric patterns and references to landscape imagery and to nature.

Historical roots




The focus of attention in the world of contemporary art began to shift from Paris to New York after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the development of American Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

 was the first art critic to suggest and identify a dichotomy between differing tendencies within the Abstract Expressionist canon. Taking issue with Harold Rosenberg
Harold Rosenberg
Harold Rosenberg was an American writer, educator, philosopher and art critic. He coined the term Action Painting in 1952 for what was later to be known as abstract expressionism. The term was first employed in Rosenberg's essay "American Action Painters" published in the December 1952 issue of...

 (another important champion of Abstract Expressionism), who wrote of the virtues of Action Painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

 in his famous article American Action Painters published in the December 1952 issue of ARTnews
ARTnews
ARTnews is an arts magazine based in New York, founded by James Clarence Hyde in 1902 as Hyde’s Weekly Art News. It is published 11 times a year.ARTnews covers all art, from ancient to Post-modernism...

, Greenberg observed another tendency toward all-over color or Color Field in the works of several of the so-called "First Generation" Abstract Expressionists.

Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

 was one of the painters that Greenberg referred to as a Color Field painter exemplified by Magenta, Black, Green on Orange,
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

  although Rothko himself refused to adhere to any label. For Rothko, color was "merely an instrument." In a sense, his best known works – the "multiforms" and his other signature paintings – are, in essence, the same expression, albeit one of purer (or less concrete or definable, depending on your interpretation) means, which is that of the same "basic human emotions," as his earlier surrealistic mythological paintings. What is common among these stylistic innovations is a concern for "tragedy, ecstasy and doom." By 1958, whatever spiritual expression Rothko meant to portray on canvas, it was growing increasingly darker. His bright reds, yellows and oranges of the early 1950s subtly transformed into dark blues, greens, grays and blacks. His final series of paintings from the mid-1960s were gray, and black with white borders, seemingly abstract landscapes of an endless bleak, tundra-like, unknown country.

Rothko, during the mid 1940s, was in the middle of a crucial period of transition, and he had been impressed by Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

’s abstract fields of color, which were influenced in part by the landscapes of Still’s native North Dakota. In 1947, during a subsequent semester teaching at the California School of Fine Art (known today as the San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute is a school of higher education in contemporary art with the main campus in the Russian Hill district of San Francisco, California. Its graduate center is in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The private, non-profit institution is accredited by WASC and is a member of the...

), Rothko and Still flirted with the idea of founding their own curriculum or school. Still was considered one of the foremost Color Field painters – his non-figurative paintings are largely concerned with the juxtaposition of different colors and surfaces. His jagged flashes of color give the impression that one layer of color has been "torn" off the painting, revealing the colors underneath, reminiscent of stalactite
Stalactite
A stalactite , "to drip", and meaning "that which drips") is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone...

s and primordial caverns. Still's arrangements are irregular, jagged, and pitted with heavy texture and sharp surface contrast as seen above in 1957D1.

Another artist whose best known works relate to both abstract expressionism and to color field painting is Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

. Motherwell's style of abstract expressionism, characterized by loose opened fields of painterly surfaces accompanied by loosely drawn and measured lines and shapes, was influenced by both Joan Miró
Joan Miró
Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

 and by Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

. Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

's Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110 (1971) is the work of a pioneer of both Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

 and Color Field painting. Robert Motherwell's Elegy to The Spanish Republic series embodies both tendencies, while Motherwell's Open Series of the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s places him firmly within the Color Field camp. In 1970 Motherwell said, Throughout my life, the 20th-century painter whom I've admired the most has been Matisse, alluding to several of his own series of paintings that reflect Matisse's influence, most notably his Open Series that come closest to classic Color Field painting.

Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

 is considered one of the major figures in abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

 and one of the foremost of the color field painters. Newman's mature work is characterised by areas of color pure and flat separated by thin vertical lines, or "zips" as Newman called them, exemplified by Vir heroicus sublimis
Vir heroicus sublimis
Vir Heroicus Sublimis is a painting by Barnett Newman, an American painter who was a key part of the abstract expressionist movement. Vir Heroicus Sublimis—"man, heroic and sublime" in Latin—attempts to evoke a reaction from its viewers because of its overwhelming scale and saturated color.-Newman...

 in the collection of MoMA
Moma
Moma may refer to:* Moma , an owlet moth genus* Moma Airport, a Russian public airport* Moma District, Nampula, Mozambique* Moma River, a right tributary of the Indigirka River* Google Moma, the Google corporate intranet...

. Newman himself thought that he reached his fully mature style with the Onement series (from 1948) seen here. The zips define the spatial structure of the painting while simultaneously dividing and uniting the composition. Although Newman's paintings appear to be purely abstract, and many of them were originally untitled, the names he later gave them hinted at specific subjects being addressed, often with a Jewish theme. Two paintings from the early 1950s, for example, are called Adam and Eve (see Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

), and there are also Uriel
Uriel
Uriel is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions...

 (1954) and Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 (1949), a very dark painting, which, in addition to being the name of a biblical patriarch, was also the name of Newman's father, who had died in 1947. Newman's late works, such as the Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue series, use vibrant, pure colors, often on very large canvases.

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

, Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb was an American abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and graphic artist.-Biography:Gottlieb was born in New York to Jewish parents. From 1920-1921 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, after which he traveled in France and Germany for a year...

, Hans Hofmann
Hans Hofmann
Hans Hofmann was a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.-Biography:Hofmann was born in Weißenburg, Bavaria on March 21, 1880, the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann. When he was six he moved with his family to Munich...

, Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

, Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

, Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

, Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

, Ad Reinhardt
Ad Reinhardt
Adolph Frederick Reinhardt was an Abstract painter active in New York beginning in the 1930s and continuing through the 1960s. He was a member of the American Abstract Artists and was a part of the movement centered around the Betty Parsons Gallery that became known as Abstract Expressionism...

 and Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. As such, his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian genocide.-Early life:...

 (in his last works) were among the prominent abstract expressionist painters that Greenberg identified as being connected to Color Field painting in the 1950s and 1960s.

Although Pollock is closely associated with Action Painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

 because of his style, technique, and his painterly touch and his physical application of paint, art critics have likened Pollock to both Action painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

 and color field painting. Another critical view advanced by Clement Greenberg connects Pollock's allover canvasses to the large-scale Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Water Lilies is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet . The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life...

 of Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

 done during the 1920s. Greenberg, art critic Michael Fried, and others have observed that the overall feeling in Pollock's most famous works – his drip paintings – read as vast fields of built-up linear elements often reading as vast complexes of similar valued paint skeins that read as all over fields of color and drawing, and are related to the mural-sized late Monets that are constructed of many passages of close valued brushed and scumbled marks that also read as close valued fields of color and drawing that Monet used in building his picture surfaces. Pollock's use of all-over composition lend a philosophical and a physical connection to the way the color field painters like Newman, Rothko and Still construct their unbroken and in Still's case broken surfaces. In several paintings that Pollock painted after his classic drip painting period of 1947-1950, he used the technique of staining fluid oil paint and house paint into raw canvas. During 1951 he produced a series of semi-figurative black stain paintings, and in 1952 he produced stain paintings using color. In his November 1952 exhibition at the Sidney Janis
Sidney Janis
Sidney Janis was a wealthy clothing manufacturer and art collector who opened an art gallery in New York in 1948. His gallery quickly gained prominence, for he not only exhibited the work of most of the emerging leaders of Abstract Expressionism, but also that of such important European artists as...

 Gallery in New York City Pollock showed Number 12, 1952, a large, masterful stain painting that resembles a brightly colored stained landscape (with an overlay of broadly dripped dark paint); the painting was acquired from the exhibition by Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 for his personal collection. In 1960 the painting was severely damaged by fire in the Governors Mansion in Albany that also severely damaged an Arshile Gorky painting and several other works in the Rockefeller collection. However, by 1999 it had been restored and was installed in Albany Mall.
While Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. As such, his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian genocide.-Early life:...

 is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Abstract Expressionism and a Surrealist, he was also one of the first painters of the New York School
New York School
The New York School was an informal group of American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians active in the 1950s, 1960s in New York City...

 who used the technique of staining. Gorky created broad fields of vivid, open, unbroken color that he used in his many of his paintings as grounds. In Gorky's most effective and accomplished paintings between the years 1941-1948, he consistently used intense stained fields of color, often letting the paint run and drip, under and around his familiar lexicon of organic and biomorphic shapes and delicate lines. Another abstract expressionist whose works in the 1940s call to mind the stain paintings of the 1960s and the 1970s is James Brooks
James Brooks (painter)
James Brooks was an American muralist, abstract painter and winner of the Logan Medal of the Arts. Brooks was a friend of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner on Eastern Long Island. In 1947 he married artist Charlotte Park...

. Brooks regularly used stain as a technique in his paintings from the late 1940s. Brooks began diluting his oil paint
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

 in order to have fluid colors with which to pour and drip and stain into the mostly raw canvas that he used. These works often combined calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 and abstract shapes. During the final three decades of his career, Sam Francis
Sam Francis
Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.-Early life:...

' style of large scale bright Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

 was closely associated with Color field painting. His paintings straddled both camps within the Abstract Expressionist rubric, Action painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

 and Color Field painting.


Having seen Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

's 1951 paintings of thinned black oil paint stained into raw canvas, Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

 began to produce stain paintings in varied oil colors on raw canvas in 1952. Her most famous painting from that period is Mountains and Sea(as seen below). She is one of the originators of the Color Field movement that emerged in the late 1950s. Frankenthaler also studied with Hans Hofmann
Hans Hofmann
Hans Hofmann was a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.-Biography:Hofmann was born in Weißenburg, Bavaria on March 21, 1880, the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann. When he was six he moved with his family to Munich...

. Hofmann's paintings are a symphony of color as seen in The Gate, 1959-1960. Hofmann was renowned not only as an artist but also as a teacher of art, both in his native Germany and later in the U.S. Hans Hofmann, who came to the United States from Germany in the early 1930s, brought with him the legacy of Modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

. Hofmann was a young artist working in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 who painted there before World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Hofmann worked in Paris with Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay was a French artist who, with his wife Sonia Delaunay and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. His later works were more abstract, reminiscent of Paul Klee...

, and he knew firsthand the innovative work of both Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 and Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

. Matisse's work had an enormous influence on him, and on his understanding of the expressive language of color and the potentiality of abstraction. Hofmann was one of the first theorists of color field painting, and his theories were influential to artists and to critics, particularly to Clement Greenberg, as well as to others during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1953 Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 were both profoundly influenced by Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

's stain paintings after visiting her studio in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. Returning to Washington, DC., they began to produce the major works that created the color field movement in the late 1950s.

In 1972 then Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 curator
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 Henry Geldzahler
Henry Geldzahler
Henry Geldzahler was a curator of contemporary art in the late 20th century, as well as a modern art art historian and art critic...

 said:
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

 included the work of both Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 in a show that he did at the Kootz Gallery in the early 1950s. Clem was the first to see their potential. He invited them up to New York in 1953, I think it was, to Helen's studio to see a painting that she had just done called Mountains and Sea, a very, very beautiful painting, which was in a sense, out of Pollock and out of Gorky. It also was one of the first stain pictures, one of the first large field pictures in which the stain technique was used, perhaps the first one. Louis and Noland saw the picture unrolled on the floor of her studio and went back to Washington, DC., and worked together for a while, working at the implications of this kind of painting.


Morris Louis's painting Where 1960, was a major innovation that moved abstract expressionist painting forward in a new direction toward Color Field and Minimalism
Minimalism
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts...

. Among Louis's major works are his various series of color field paintings. Some of his best known series' are the Unfurleds, the Veils, the Florals and the Stripes or Pillars. From 1929 to 1933, Louis studied at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts (now Maryland Institute College of Art
Maryland Institute College of Art
Maryland Institute College of Art is an art and design college in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. It was founded in 1826 as the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, making it one of the first and oldest art colleges in the United States. In 2008, MICA was ranked #2 in the nation...

). He worked at various odd jobs to support himself while painting and in 1935 was president of the Baltimore Artists’ Association. From 1936 to 1940, he lived in New York and worked in the easel division of the Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects...

 Federal Art Project. During this period, he knew Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. As such, his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian genocide.-Early life:...

, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

, and Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov was a Polish born American abstract expressionist painter.He was born in Biała Podlaska, Russian Empire and immigrated to the United States in 1913 with his mother and younger sister who would later become known as Janice Biala...

, returning to Baltimore in 1940. In 1948, he started to use Magna
Magna paint
Magna is the brand name of an acrylic resin paint, developed by Leonard Bocour and sold by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc. in 1947. It is very different from modern acrylic paint, as it is composed of pigments ground in an acrylic resin brought into emulsion through the use of solvents. Bocour Artist...

 - oil based acrylic paint
Acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry...

s. In 1952, Louis moved to Washington, D.C. Living in Washington, D.C., somewhat apart from the New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 scene and working almost in isolation. He and a group of artists that included Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 were central to the development of Color Field painting. The basic point about Louis's work and that of other Color Field painters, sometimes known as the Washington Color School
Washington Color School
A visual-art movement of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, the Washington Color School was originally a group of painters who showed works in the "Washington Color Painters" exhibit at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC from June 25-September 5, 1965. The exhibition...

 in contrast to most of the other new approaches of the late 1950s and early 1960s, is that they greatly simplified the idea of what constitutes the look of a finished painting.

Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 working in Washington, DC., was also a pioneer of the color field movement in the late 1950s who used series as important formats for his paintings. Some of Noland's major series were called Targets, Chevrons and Stripes. Noland attended the experimental Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College, a school founded in 1933 in Black Mountain, North Carolina, was a new kind of college in the United States in which the study of art was seen to be central to a liberal arts education, and in which John Dewey's principles of education played a major role...

 and studied art in his home state of North Carolina. Noland studied with professor Ilya Bolotowsky
Ilya Bolotowsky
Ilya Bolotowsky was a leading early 20th-century painter in abstract styles in New York City. His work, a search for philosophical order through visual expression, embraced cubism and geometric abstraction and was much influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.Born to Jewish parents in St...

 who introduced him to Neo-plasticism and the work of Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

. There he also studied Bauhaus
Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

 theory and color with Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Josef Albers was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century....

 and he became interested in Paul Klee
Paul Klee
Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was, as well, a student of orientalism...

, specifically his sensitivity to color. In 1948 and 1949 he worked with Ossip Zadkine
Ossip Zadkine
Ossip Zadkine was a Belarusian-born artist who lived in France. He is primarily known as a sculptor, but also produced paintings and lithographs.-Early years and career:...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, and in the early 1950s met Morris Louis in Washington DC.

In 1970 art critic Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

 said:

I'd place Pollock along with Hofmann and Morris Louis in this country among the very greatest painters of this generation. I actually don't think there was anyone in the same generation in Europe quite to match them. Pollock didn't like Hofmann's paintings. He couldn't make them out. He didn't take the trouble to. And Hofmann didn't like Pollock's allover paintings, nor could most of Pollock's artist friends make head or tail out of them, the things he did from 1947 to '50. But Pollock's paintings live or die in the same context as Rembrandt's or Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

's or Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

's or Goya's
Francisco Goya
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era...

 or David's
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

 or ...or Manet
Manet
-MANET as an abbreviation:*MANET is a mobile ad hoc network, a self-configuring mobile wireless network.*MANET database or Molecular Ancestry Network, bioinformatics database-People with the surname Manet:*Édouard Manet, a 19th-century French painter....

's or Ruben's or Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's paintings. There's no interruption, there's no mutation here. Pollock asked to be tested by the same eye that could see how good Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 was when he was good or Piero
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 when he was good.

Color Field movement


By the late 1950s and early 1960s young artists began to break away stylistically from abstract expressionism; experimenting with new ways of making pictures; and new ways of handling paint and color. In the early 1960s several and various new movements in abstract painting were closely related to each other, and superficially were categorized together; although they turned out to be profoundly different in the long run. Some of the new styles and movements that appeared in the early 1960s as responses to abstract expressionism were called: Washington Color School
Washington Color School
A visual-art movement of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, the Washington Color School was originally a group of painters who showed works in the "Washington Color Painters" exhibit at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC from June 25-September 5, 1965. The exhibition...

, Hard-edge painting
Hard-edge painting
Hard-edge painting is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas. Color areas are often of one unvarying color. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Op Art, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.-History of the term:The term was...

, Geometric abstraction, Minimalism
Minimalism
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts...

, and Color Field.

Gene Davis
Gene Davis (painter)
Gene Davis was an American painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color, and was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School....

 also was a painter known especially for paintings of vertical stripes of color, like Black Grey Beat, 1964, and he also was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School
Washington Color School
A visual-art movement of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, the Washington Color School was originally a group of painters who showed works in the "Washington Color Painters" exhibit at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC from June 25-September 5, 1965. The exhibition...

. The Washington painters were among the most prominent of the mid-century Color Field painters.


The artists associated with the Color Field movement during the 1960s were moving away from gesture and angst
Angst
Angst is an English, German, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word for fear or anxiety . It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety or inner turmoil...

 in favor of clear surfaces and gestalt. During the early to mid-1960s Color Field painting was the term used to describe the work of artists like Anne Truitt
Anne Truitt
Anne Truitt was a major American artist of the mid-20th century; she is associated with both minimalism and Color Field artists like Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland....

, John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin (artist)
John Dwyer McLaughlin was an American abstract painter. Based primarily in California, he was a pioneer in minimalist and hard-edge painting.-Life:...

, Sam Francis
Sam Francis
Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.-Early life:...

, Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam is internationally recognized as one of America's foremost Color Field Painter and Lyrical Abstractionist artists....

, Thomas Downing
Thomas Downing
Thomas Downing was an American painter, associated with the Washington Color Field Movement.-Life and work:Thomas Downing was born in Suffolk, Virginia. He studied at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He then studied at the Pratt...

, Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly
Ellsworth Kelly is an American painter and sculptor associated with Hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and the Minimalist school. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing the simplicity of form found similar to the work of John McLaughlin. Kelly often employs bright colors to...

, Paul Feeley
Paul Feeley
Paul Feeley was an artist and director of the Art Department at Bennington College during the 1950s and early 1960s.-Biography:...

, Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas was a German-born American abstract painter.-Life and work:Friedel Dzubas studied art in his native land before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and settling in New York City. In Manhattan during the early 1950s, he shared a studio with fellow abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler...

, Jack Bush
Jack Bush
Jack Bush was a Canadian abstract expressionist painter, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1909 and he died there 24 January 1977...

, Howard Mehring
Howard Mehring
Howard Mehring was a twentieth century painter born in Washington, D.C.Howard Mehring is associated with Color Field painting and the Washington Color School and the artists at Jefferson Place Gallery. Mehring and Robert Gates both received grants from THE Woodward Foundation to travel in Europe...

, Gene Davis
Gene Davis (painter)
Gene Davis was an American painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color, and was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School....

, Mary Pinchot Meyer
Mary Pinchot Meyer
Mary Eno Pinchot Meyer was an American socialite, painter, former wife of Central Intelligence Agency official Cord Meyer and intimate friend of United States president John F. Kennedy, who was often noted for her desirable physique and social skills...

, Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

, Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

, Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

, Robert Goodnough
Robert Goodnough
Robert Goodnough was an American abstract expressionist painter. A veteran of World War II, Goodnough was one of the last of the original generation of the New York School; , even though he began exhibiting his work in galleries in New York City in the...

, Ray Parker
Ray Parker (painter)
Raymond Parker was born in 1922 and he died in 1990. He was known as an Abstract expressionist painter who also is associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction...

, Al Held
Al Held
Al Held was an American Abstract expressionist painter. He was particularly well known for his large scale Hard-edge paintings.-Background and education:...

, Emerson Woelffer
Emerson Woelffer
Emerson Woelffer was a prominent abstract expressionism artist and painter born in Chicago. He studied Education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago between 1935 and 1937. In 1938 he joined the WPA Arts Program. In 1949 he taught at Black Mountain College at the request of Buckminster...

, David Simpson, and others whose works were formerly related to second generation abstract expressionism; and also to younger artists like Larry Poons
Larry Poons
Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

, Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis , born 1937, is an American painter whose work is associated with Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting, and 3D Computer Graphics...

, Larry Zox
Larry Zox
Lawrence "Larry" Zox was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical Abstractionist, although he did not readily use those categories for his work....

, John Hoyland
John Hoyland
John Hoyland RA was a London-based British artist. He was one of the country's leading abstract painters.-Life:...

, Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard , also known as Darby Bannard, is an American abstract painter.Bannard attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University, where he struck up a friendship and working relationship with Frank Stella, which continued after graduation and eventuated in the extreme...

 and Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

. All were moving in a new direction away from the violence and anxiety of Action painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

 toward a new and seemingly calmer language of color.
Although the term Color Field is associated with Clement Greenberg, Greenberg actually preferred to use the term Post-Painterly Abstraction. In 1964, Clement Greenberg curated an influential exhibition that traveled the country called Post-painterly abstraction
Post-painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....

. The exhibition expanded the definition of color field painting. Color Field painting clearly pointed toward a new direction in American painting, away from abstract expressionism. In 2007 curator Karen Wilkin
Karen Wilkin
Karen Wilkin is a New York-based independent curator and art critic specializing in 20th century modernism. Educated at Barnard College and Columbia University, she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship, to Rome...

 curated an exhibition called Color As Field:American Painting 1950-1975 that traveled to several museums throughout the United States. The exhibition showcased several artists representing two generations of Color Field painters.

In 1970 painter Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

 said:

I don't know what Color Field painting means. I think it was probably invented by some critic, which is okay, but I don't think the phrase means anything. Color Field painting? I mean, what is color? Painting has to do with a lot of things. Color is among the things it has to do with. It has to do with surface. It has to do with shape, It has to do with feelings which are more difficult to get at.


Jack Bush
Jack Bush
Jack Bush was a Canadian abstract expressionist painter, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1909 and he died there 24 January 1977...

 was a Canadian abstract expressionist painter, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1909. He was a member of Painters Eleven
Painters Eleven
Painters Eleven was a collective of abstract artists active in Canada from 1954 to 1960.-History:...

, the group founded by William Ronald
William Ronald
William Ronald, R.C.A. William Ronald, R.C.A. (August 13, 1926 – February 9, 1998) William Ronald, R.C.A. (August 13, 1926 – February 9, 1998) (born William Ronald Smith, was an important Canadian painter, best known as the founder of the influential Canadian abstract art group...

 in 1954 to promote abstract painting in Canada, and was soon encouraged in his art by the American art critic Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

. With encouragement from Greenberg, Bush became closely tied to two movements that grew out of the efforts of the abstract expressionists: Color Field Painting and Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

. His painting Big A is an example of his color field paintings of the late 1960s.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

 was a significant figure in the emergence of Minimalism
Minimalism
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts...

, Post-Painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....

 and Color Field painting. His shaped canvas
Shaped canvas
Shaped canvases are paintings that depart from the normal flat, rectangular configuration. Canvases may be shaped by altering their outline, while retaining their flatness. An ancient, traditional example is the tondo, a painting on a round canvas: Raphael, as well as some other Renaissance...

es of the 1960s like Harrah II, 1967, revolutionized abstract painting. One of the most important characteristics of Stella's paintings is his use of repetition. His Black Pin Stripe paintings of 1959 startled and shocked an art world that was unused to seeing monochromatic and repetitive images, painted flat, with almost no inflexion. During the early 1960s Stella made several series' of notched Aluminum Paintings and shaped Copper Paintings before making multi-colored and asymmetrical shaped canvases of the late 1960s. Frank Stella's approach and relationship to Color Field painting was not permanent or central to his creative output; as his work became more and more 3 dimensional after 1980.

In the late 1960s Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn was a well-known 20th century American painter. His early work is associated with Abstract expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. His later work were instrumental to his achievement of worldwide acclaim.-Biography:Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr...

 began his Ocean Park series; created during the final 25 years of his career and they are important examples of color field painting. The Ocean Park series exemplified by Ocean Park No.129, connects his earlier abstract expressionist works with Color field painting. During the early 1950s, Richard Diebenkorn was known as an abstract expressionist, and his gestural abstractions were close to the New York School
New York School
The New York School was an informal group of American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians active in the 1950s, 1960s in New York City...

 in sensibility but firmly based in the San Francisco abstract expressionist sensibility; a place where Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

 has a considerable influence on younger artists by virtue of his teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute is a school of higher education in contemporary art with the main campus in the Russian Hill district of San Francisco, California. Its graduate center is in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The private, non-profit institution is accredited by WASC and is a member of the...

.

By the mid-1950s, Richard Diebenkorn along with David Park
David Park
David Park was a painter and a pioneer of the Bay Area Figurative School of painting during the 1950s.-Biography:...

, Elmer Bischoff
Elmer Bischoff
Elmer Nelson Bischoff was a visual artist in the San Francisco Bay Area.Bischoff, along with Richard Diebenkorn and David Park, was part of the post-World War II generation of artists who started as abstract painters and found their way back to figurative art.-Biography:Elmer Bischoff, second...

 and several others formed the Bay Area Figurative School
Bay Area Figurative School
The Bay Area Figurative Movement was a mid-20th Century art movement made up of a group of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area who abandoned working in the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism in favor of a return to figuration in painting during...

 with a return to Figurative painting. During the period between the fall 1964 and the spring of 1965 Diebenkorn traveled throughout Europe, he was granted a cultural visa to visit and view Henri Matisse paintings in important Soviet museums. He traveled to the then Soviet Union to study Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 paintings in Russian museums that were rarely seen outside of Russia. When he returned to painting in the Bay Area in mid-1965 his resulting works summed up all that he had learned from his more than a decade as a leading figurative painter. When in 1967 he returned to abstraction his works were parallel to movements like the Color Field movement and Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

 but he remained independent of both.

During the late 1960s Larry Poons
Larry Poons
Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

 whose earlier Dot paintings were associated with Op Art
Op art
Op art, also known as optical art, is a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions."Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing." Op art works are abstract, with many of the better known pieces made...

 began to produce looser and more free formed paintings that were referred to as his Lozenge Ellipse paintings of 1967-1968. Along with John Hoyland
John Hoyland
John Hoyland RA was a London-based British artist. He was one of the country's leading abstract painters.-Life:...

, Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard , also known as Darby Bannard, is an American abstract painter.Bannard attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University, where he struck up a friendship and working relationship with Frank Stella, which continued after graduation and eventuated in the extreme...

, Larry Zox
Larry Zox
Lawrence "Larry" Zox was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical Abstractionist, although he did not readily use those categories for his work....

, Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis , born 1937, is an American painter whose work is associated with Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting, and 3D Computer Graphics...

, Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, , and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.Landfield is...

, John Seery
John Seery
John Seery is an American artist who is associated with the lyrical abstraction movement. He was born in Maspeth, New York, was raised in Flushing, Queens and as a teen, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.- Biography :...

, Pat Lipsky
Pat Lipsky
Pat Lipsky is an American painter associated with Lyrical Abstraction, Color Field Painting, and Geometric abstraction.-Education:Lipsky grew up in New York City...

, Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen, the American abstract painter, was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 6, 1942, he died in Easthampton, New York on January 20, 2007....

 and several other young painters a new movement that related to Color Field painting began to form; eventually called Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

. The late 1960s saw painters turning to surface inflection, deep space depiction, and painterly touch and paint handling merging with the language of color. Among a new generation of abstract painters who emerged combining color field painting with expressionism the older generation also began infusing new elements of complex space and surface into their works. By the 1970s Poons created thick-skinned, cracked and heavy paintings referred to as Elephant Skin paintings; while Christensen sprayed loops, colored webs of lines and calligraphy, across multi-colored fields of delicate grounds; Ronnie Landfield's stained band paintings are reflections of both Chinese landscape painting and the Color Field idiom and John Seery stained painting as exemplified by East, 1973, from the National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is the national art gallery of Australia, holding more than 120,000 works of art. It was established in 1967 by the Australian government as a national public art gallery.- Establishment :...

. Poons, Christensen, Davis, Landfield, Seery, Lipsky, Zox and several others created paintings that bridge Color Field painting with Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

 and underscore a re-emphasis on landscape, gesture and touch.

Overview


Color Field painting is related to Post-painterly abstraction
Post-painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....

, Suprematism
Suprematism
Suprematism was an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms which formed in Russia in 1915-1916. It was not until later that suprematism received conventional museum preparations...

, Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

, Hard-edge painting
Hard-edge painting
Hard-edge painting is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas. Color areas are often of one unvarying color. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Op Art, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.-History of the term:The term was...

 and Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

. It initially referred to a particular type of abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

, especially the work of Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

, Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

, Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

, Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

, Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb was an American abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and graphic artist.-Biography:Gottlieb was born in New York to Jewish parents. From 1920-1921 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, after which he traveled in France and Germany for a year...

 and several series of paintings by Joan Miró
Joan Miró
Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

. Art critic
Art critic
An art critic is a person who specializes in evaluating art. Their written critiques, or reviews, are published in newspapers, magazines, books and on web sites...

 Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

 perceived Color Field painting as related to but different from Action painting
Action painting
Action painting sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied...

.

An important distinction that made color field painting different from abstract expression was the paint handling. The most basic fundamental defining technique of painting is application of paint and the color field painters revolutionized the way paint could be effectively applied.

Color Field painting sought to rid art of superfluous rhetoric. Artists like Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

, Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

, Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

, Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb was an American abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and graphic artist.-Biography:Gottlieb was born in New York to Jewish parents. From 1920-1921 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, after which he traveled in France and Germany for a year...

, Morris Louis, Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

, Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

, Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas was a German-born American abstract painter.-Life and work:Friedel Dzubas studied art in his native land before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and settling in New York City. In Manhattan during the early 1950s, he shared a studio with fellow abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler...

, and Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

, and others often used greatly reduced formats, with drawing essentially simplified to repetitive and regulated systems, basic references to nature, and a highly articulated and psychological use of color. In general these artists eliminated overt recognizable imagery in favor of abstraction. Certain artists quoted references to past or present art, but in general color field painting presents abstraction as an end in itself. In pursuing this direction of modern art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

, these artists wanted to present each painting as one unified, cohesive, monolithic image often within series' of related types.

In distinction to the emotional energy and gestural surface marks and paint handling of Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

 and Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands....

, Color Field painting initially appeared to be cool and austere. Color field painters efface the individual mark in favor of large, flat, stained and soaked areas of color, considered to be the essential nature of visual abstraction along with the actual shape of the canvas, which Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

 in particular achieved in unusual ways with combinations of curved and straight edges. However, Color Field painting has proven to be both sensual and deeply expressive albeit in a different way from gestural Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

. Denying connection to Abstract Expressionism or any other Art Movement Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

 spoke clearly about his paintings in 1956:
I am not an abstractionist ... I am not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. ... I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on — and the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures show that I communicate those basic human emotions. ... The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point!

Stain painting


Joan Miró
Joan Miró
Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

 was one of the first and most successful stain painters. Although staining in oil was considered dangerous to cotton canvas in the long run, Miró's example during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s was an inspiration and an influence on the younger generation. One of the reasons for the success of the Color Field movement was the technique of staining. Artists would mix and dilute their paint in buckets or coffee cans making a fluid liquid and then they would pour it into raw unprimed canvas, generally Cotton Duck. The paint could also be brushed on or rolled on or thrown on or poured on or sprayed on, and would spread into the fabric of the canvas. Generally artists would draw shapes and areas as they stained. Many different artists employed staining as the technique of choice to use in making their paintings. James Brooks
James Brooks (painter)
James Brooks was an American muralist, abstract painter and winner of the Logan Medal of the Arts. Brooks was a friend of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner on Eastern Long Island. In 1947 he married artist Charlotte Park...

, Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

, Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

, Morris Louis, Paul Jenkins
Paul Jenkins (United States painter)
- Biography :He was born in 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri. In Kansas City, the artist met Frank Lloyd Wright who was commissioned by the artist's great-uncle, the Rev. Burris Jenkins, to rebuild his church after a fire. Also during his years in Kansas City, the young Jenkins visited Thomas Hart...

 and dozens of other painters found that pouring and staining opened the door to innovations and revolutionary methods of drawing and expressing meaning in new ways. The number of artists who stained in the 1960s greatly increased with the availability of acrylic paint
Acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry...

. Staining acrylic paint into the fabric of cotton duck canvas was more benign and less damaging to the fabric of the canvas than the use of oil paint.
In 1970 artist Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

 commented about her use of staining:
When I first started doing the stain paintings, I left large areas of canvas unpainted, I think, because the canvas itself acted as forcefully and as positively as paint or line or color. In other words, the very ground was part of the medium, so that instead of thinking of it as background or negative space or an empty spot, that area did not need paint because it had paint next to it. The thing was to decide where to leave it and where to fill it and where to say this doesn't need another line or another pail of colors. Its saying it in space.

Spray painting



Surprisingly few artists used the spray gun technique to create large expanses and fields of color sprayed across their canvases during the 1960s and 1970s. Some painters who effectively used spray painting
Spray painting
Spray painting is a painting technique where a device sprays a coating through the air onto a surface. The most common types employ compressed gas—usually air—to atomize and direct the paint particles. Spray guns evolved from airbrushes, and the two are usually distinguished by their size and the...

 techniques include Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

, who was a pioneer in his spray technique that covered his large paintings with layer after layer of different colors, often gradually changing hue and value in subtle progression. Another important innovation was Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen, the American abstract painter, was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 6, 1942, he died in Easthampton, New York on January 20, 2007....

's use of a spray technique to great effect in loops and ribbons of bright color; sprayed in clear, calligraphic marks across his large-scale paintings. William Pettet, Richard Saba, and Albert Stadler, used the technique to create large-scale fields of multi-colors; while Kenneth Showell sprayed over crumpled canvases and created an illusion of abstract still-life interiors. Most of the spray painters were active especially during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Stripes



Stripes were one of the most popular vehicles for color used by several different Color Field painters in a variety of different formats. Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

, Morris Louis, Jack Bush
Jack Bush
Jack Bush was a Canadian abstract expressionist painter, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1909 and he died there 24 January 1977...

, Gene Davis
Gene Davis (painter)
Gene Davis was an American painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color, and was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School....

, Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 and David Simpson, all made important Series' of stripe paintings. Although he didn't call them stripes but zips Barnett Newman's stripes were mostly vertical, of varying widths and sparingly used. In Simpson and Noland's case their stripe paintings were all mostly horizontal, while Gene Davis painted vertical stripe paintings and Morris Louis mostly painted vertical stripe paintings sometimes called Pillars. Jack Bush tended to do both horizontal and vertical stripe paintings as well as angular ones.

Magna paint



Magna, a special artist use acrylic paint
Acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry...

 was developed by Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour was born on March 18, 1910 in New York City, and he died September 6, 1993. Around 1933 he formed the New York City based company Bocour Artists Colors. He was the co-developer along with Sam Golden of Magna paint in the late 1940s. From 1952 until 1970 he and Sam Golden were...

 and Sam Golden
Sam Golden
Sam Golden started his paintmaking career in 1936 at Bocour Artist Colors with his uncle Leonard Bocour. In 1947 he developed Magna paint, the world's first artist acrylic paint. He returned from retirement in 1980 to found Golden Artist Colors Inc...

 in 1947 and reformulated in 1960, specifically for Morris Louis and other stain painters of the color field movement. In Magna pigments are ground in an acrylic resin with alcohol based solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

s. Unlike modern water-based acrylics, Magna is miscible with turpentine
Turpentine
Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene...

 or mineral spirits and dries rapidly to a matte or glossy finish. It was used extensively by Morris Louis, and Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas
Friedel Dzubas was a German-born American abstract painter.-Life and work:Friedel Dzubas studied art in his native land before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and settling in New York City. In Manhattan during the early 1950s, he shared a studio with fellow abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler...

 and also by Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent American pop artist. During the 1960s his paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and others he became a leading figure in the new art movement...

. Magna colors are more vivid and intense than regular acrylic water-based paints. Louis used Magna to great effect in his Stripe Series, where the colors are used undiluted and are poured unmixed directly from the can.

Acrylic paint



In 1972, former Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 curator
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 Henry Geldzahler
Henry Geldzahler
Henry Geldzahler was a curator of contemporary art in the late 20th century, as well as a modern art art historian and art critic...

 said:
Color field, curiously enough or perhaps not, became a viable way of painting at exactly the time that acrylic paint, the new plastic paint, came into being. It was if the new paint demanded a new possibility in painting, and the painters arrived at it. Oil paint, which has a medium that is quite different, which isn't water based, always leaves a slick of oil, or puddle of oil, around the edge of the color. Acrylic paint stops at its own edge. Color field painting came in at the same time as the invention of this new paint.


Acrylics were first made commercially available in the 1950s as mineral spirit-based paints called Magna
Magna paint
Magna is the brand name of an acrylic resin paint, developed by Leonard Bocour and sold by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc. in 1947. It is very different from modern acrylic paint, as it is composed of pigments ground in an acrylic resin brought into emulsion through the use of solvents. Bocour Artist...

 offered by Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour was born on March 18, 1910 in New York City, and he died September 6, 1993. Around 1933 he formed the New York City based company Bocour Artists Colors. He was the co-developer along with Sam Golden of Magna paint in the late 1940s. From 1952 until 1970 he and Sam Golden were...

. Water-based acrylic paints were subsequently sold as "latex" house paints, although acrylic dispersion uses no latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 derived from a rubber tree
Para rubber tree
Hevea brasiliensis, the Pará rubber tree, often simply called rubber tree, is a tree belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae, and the most economically important member of the genus Hevea...

. Interior "latex" house paints tend to be a combination of binder
Binder (material)
-See also:*Adhesive or Glue*Cement*Paint...

 (sometimes acrylic, vinyl
Vinyl
A vinyl compound is any organic compound that contains a vinyl group ,which are derivatives of ethene, CH2=CH2, with one hydrogen atom replaced with some other group...

, pva
Polyvinyl acetate
Polyvinyl acetate, PVA, PVAc, poly, is a rubbery synthetic polymer with the formula n. It belongs to the polyvinyl esters family with the general formula -[RCOOCHCH2]-...

 and others), filler
Filler (materials)
Fillers are particles added to material to lower the consumption of more expensive binder material or to better some properties of the mixtured material...

, pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

 and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

. Exterior "latex" house paints may also be a "co-polymer" blend, but the very best exterior water-based paints are 100% acrylic.

Soon after the water-based acrylic binders were introduced as house paints, both artists – the first of whom were Mexican muralists – and companies began to explore the potential of the new binders. Acrylic artist paints can be thinned with water and used as washes
Wash (painting)
thumb|Example of a wash drawing by [[R. G. Skerrett]].A wash is a painting technique in which a paint brush that is very wet with solvent and holds a small paint load is applied to a wet or dry support such as paper or primed or raw canvas. The result is a smooth and uniform area that ideally lacks...

 in the manner of watercolor paints, although the washes are fast and permanent once dry. Water soluble artist quality acrylic paints became commercially available in the early 1960s, offered by Liquitex
Liquitex
Liquitex is a registred trademark for a brand of acrylic paints named using a portmanteau of the words "liquid" and "texture". The first water-based acrylic paint launched in 1955 by the company under this brand name was the first acrylic gesso, and colored liquid acrylic paints came one year later...

 and Bocour under the trade name of Aquatec. Water soluble Liquitex and Aquatec proved to be ideally suited for stain painting. The staining technique with water soluble acrylics made diluted colors sink and hold fast into raw canvas
Canvas
Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame...

. Painters such as Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

, Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

, Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen, the American abstract painter, was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 6, 1942, he died in Easthampton, New York on January 20, 2007....

, Sam Francis
Sam Francis
Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.-Early life:...

, Larry Zox
Larry Zox
Lawrence "Larry" Zox was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical Abstractionist, although he did not readily use those categories for his work....

, Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, , and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.Landfield is...

, Larry Poons
Larry Poons
Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

, Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

, Gene Davis
Gene Davis (painter)
Gene Davis was an American painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color, and was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School....

, Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis , born 1937, is an American painter whose work is associated with Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting, and 3D Computer Graphics...

, Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam is internationally recognized as one of America's foremost Color Field Painter and Lyrical Abstractionist artists....

 and others successfully used water based acrylics for their new stain, color field paintings.

Legacy: influences and influenced





To say that the painterly legacy of 20th century painting is a long and intertwined mainstream of influences and complex interrelationships would not be inaccurate. The use of large opened fields of expressive color applied in generous painterly portions, accompanied by loose drawing (vague linear spots and/or figurative outline) can first be seen in the early 20th century works of both Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 and Joan Miró
Joan Miró
Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

. Matisse and Miró as well as Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

, Paul Klee
Paul Klee
Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was, as well, a student of orientalism...

, Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely-abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics...

 and Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

 directly influenced the Abstract Expressionists, the Color Field painters of Post-Painterly Abstraction and the Lyrical Abstractionists. Late 19th century Americans like Augustus Vincent Tack
Augustus Vincent Tack
Augustus Vincent Tack was an American painter of portraits, landscapes and abstractions.-Early years:Tack was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved with his family to New York in 1883. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier College in New York City in 1890, Tack studied at the Art Students...

 and Albert Pinkham Ryder
Albert Pinkham Ryder
Albert Pinkham Ryder was an American painter best known for his poetic and moody allegorical works and seascapes, as well as his eccentric personality...

 along with early American Modernists
American modernism
American modernism like modernism in general is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation, and is thus in its essence both progressive and optimistic...

 like Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was an American artist.Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art community in 1916, several decades before women had gained access to art training in America’s colleges and universities, and before any of its women artists...

, Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley was an American Modernist painter, poet, and essayist.-Early life and education:Hartley was born in Lewiston, Maine, where his English parents had settled. He was the youngest of nine children. His mother died when he was eight, and his father remarried four years later to Martha...

 Stuart Davis
Stuart Davis (painter)
Stuart Davis , was an early American modernist painter. He was well known for his jazz influenced, proto pop art paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, bold, brash, and colorful as well as his ashcan pictures in the early years of the 20th century.-Biography:He was born in Philadelphia to Edward Wyatt...

, Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove
Arthur Garfield Dove was an American artist. An early American modernist, he is often considered the first American abstract painter.-Youth and education:...

 and Milton Avery
Milton Avery
Milton Avery was an American modern painter. Born in Altmar, New York, he moved to Connecticut in 1898 and later to New York City.-Biography:...

's landscapes also provided important precedents and were influences on the Abstract Expressionists, the Color Field painters and the Lyrical Abstractionists. Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 paintings French Window at Collioure, and View of Notre Dame both from 1914 exerted tremendous influence on American Color Field painters in general (including Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

's Open Series) and on Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park paintings specifically. According to art historian Jane Livingston, Diebenkorn saw both Matisse paintings in an exhibition in Los Angeles in 1966 and they had an enormous impact on him and his work. Jane Livingston says about the January 1966 Matisse exhibition that Diebenkorn saw in Los Angeles:
It is difficult not to ascribe enormous weight to this experience for the direction his work took from that time on. Two pictures he saw there reverberate in almost every Ocean Park canvas. View of Notre Dame and French Window at Collioure, both painted in 1914, were on view for the first time in the US.


Livingston goes on to say Diebenkorn must have experienced French Window at Collioure, as an epiphany.

Joan Miró
Joan Miró
Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

 was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Miró pioneered the technique of staining; creating blurry, multi-colored cloudy backgrounds in thinned oil paint throughout the 1920s and 1930s; on top of which he added his calligraphy, characters and abundant lexicon of words, and imagery. Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. As such, his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian genocide.-Early life:...

 openly admired Miró's work and painted Miró-like Gorky paintings, before finally discovering his own originality in the early 1940s. During the 1960s Miró painted large (abstract expressionist scale) radiant fields of vigorously brushed paint in blue, in white, and other monochromatic fields of colors; with blurry black orbs and calligraphic stone-like shapes, floating at random. These works resembled the Color Field paintings of the younger generation. Biographer Jacques Dupin
Jacques Dupin
Jacques Dupin is a French poet, art critic, and co-founder of the journal L'éphemère.A resident of Paris since 1944, he is director of publication at Galerie Maeght.- Jacques Dupin's poetry in English :...

 said this about Miró's work of the early 1960s:
These canvases disclose affinities – Miró does not in the least attempt to deny this – with the researches of a new generation of painters. Many of these, Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

 for one, have acknowledged their debt to Miró. Miró in turn displays lively interest in their work and never misses an opportunity to encourage and support them. Nor does he consider it beneath his dignity to use their discoveries on some occasions.


Taking its example from other European modernists like Joan Miró, the Color Field movement encompasses several decades from the mid 20th century through the early 21st century. Color Field painting actually encompasses three separate but related generations of painters. Commonly used terms to describe the three separate but related groups are Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

, Post-Painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....

, and Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

. Some of the artists made works in all three eras, that relate to all of the three styles. Color Field pioneers such as Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

, Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

, Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

, Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...

, Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb was an American abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and graphic artist.-Biography:Gottlieb was born in New York to Jewish parents. From 1920-1921 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, after which he traveled in France and Germany for a year...

 and Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

 are primarily thought of as Abstract Expressionists. Artists like Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

, Sam Francis
Sam Francis
Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.-Early life:...

, Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn was a well-known 20th century American painter. His early work is associated with Abstract expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. His later work were instrumental to his achievement of worldwide acclaim.-Biography:Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr...

, Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

, and Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland
Kenneth Noland 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...

 were of a slightly younger generation or in the case of Morris Louis esthetically aligned with that generations point of view; that started out as Abstract Expressionists but quickly moved to Post-Painterly Abstraction. While younger artists like Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

, Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis
Ronald Davis , born 1937, is an American painter whose work is associated with Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting, and 3D Computer Graphics...

, Larry Zox
Larry Zox
Lawrence "Larry" Zox was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical Abstractionist, although he did not readily use those categories for his work....

, Larry Poons
Larry Poons
Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

, Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard
Walter Darby Bannard , also known as Darby Bannard, is an American abstract painter.Bannard attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University, where he struck up a friendship and working relationship with Frank Stella, which continued after graduation and eventuated in the extreme...

, Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, , and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.Landfield is...

, Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen
Dan Christensen, the American abstract painter, was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 6, 1942, he died in Easthampton, New York on January 20, 2007....

, began with Post-Painterly Abstraction and eventually moved forward towards a new type of expressionism, referred to as Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

. Many of the artists mentioned as well as many others have practiced all three modes at one phase of their careers or another. During the later phases of Color Field painting; as reflections of the zeitgeist
Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.The...

 of the late 1960s (in which everything began to hang loose) and the angst
Angst
Angst is an English, German, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word for fear or anxiety . It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety or inner turmoil...

 of the age (with all of the uncertainties of the time) merged with the gestalt of Post-Painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly Abstraction
Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....

, producing Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

 which combined precision of the Color Field idiom with the malerische of the Abstract Expressionists. During the same period of the late 1960s early 1970s in Europe, Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter is a German visual artist. Richter has simultaneously produced abstract and photorealistic painted works, as well as photographs and glass pieces, thus undermining the concept of the artist’s obligation to maintain a single cohesive style.- Biography :Gerhard Richter was born in...

, Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer is a German painter and sculptor. He studied with Joseph Beuys and Peter Dreher during the 1970s. His works incorporate materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac...

 and several other painters also began producing works of intense expression, merging abstraction with images, incorporating landscape imagery and figuration that by the late 1970s was referred to as Neo-expressionism
Neo-expressionism
Neo-expressionism is a style of modern painting and sculpture that emerged in the late 1970s and dominated the art market until the mid-1980s...

.

Painters


The following is a list of Color Field painters, closely related artists and some of their more important influences:
  • Josef Albers
    Josef Albers
    Josef Albers was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century....

  • Edward Avedisian
    Edward Avedisian
    Edward Avedisian was an American abstract painter who came into prominence during the 1960s. His work was initially associated with Color field painting and in the late 1960s with Lyrical Abstraction.-Early career:He studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston...

  • Walter Darby Bannard
    Walter Darby Bannard
    Walter Darby Bannard , also known as Darby Bannard, is an American abstract painter.Bannard attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University, where he struck up a friendship and working relationship with Frank Stella, which continued after graduation and eventuated in the extreme...

  • Ilya Bolotowsky
    Ilya Bolotowsky
    Ilya Bolotowsky was a leading early 20th-century painter in abstract styles in New York City. His work, a search for philosophical order through visual expression, embraced cubism and geometric abstraction and was much influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.Born to Jewish parents in St...

  • Jack Bush
    Jack Bush
    Jack Bush was a Canadian abstract expressionist painter, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1909 and he died there 24 January 1977...

  • Dan Christensen
    Dan Christensen
    Dan Christensen, the American abstract painter, was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 6, 1942, he died in Easthampton, New York on January 20, 2007....

  • Gene Davis
    Gene Davis (painter)
    Gene Davis was an American painter known especially for his paintings of vertical stripes of color, and was a member of the group of abstract painters in Washington DC during the 1960s known as the Washington Color School....

  • Ronald Davis
    Ronald Davis
    Ronald Davis , born 1937, is an American painter whose work is associated with Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting, and 3D Computer Graphics...

  • Robyn Denny
    Robyn Denny
    Robyn Denny, born in Abinger, Surrey in 1930, is one of a group who transformed British art in the late 1950s, leading it into the international mainstream. He studied at the Royal College of Art in the mid-1950s, among a generation that included Richard Smith and Alan Green...

  • Richard Diebenkorn
    Richard Diebenkorn
    Richard Diebenkorn was a well-known 20th century American painter. His early work is associated with Abstract expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. His later work were instrumental to his achievement of worldwide acclaim.-Biography:Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr...

  • Thomas Downing
    Thomas Downing
    Thomas Downing was an American painter, associated with the Washington Color Field Movement.-Life and work:Thomas Downing was born in Suffolk, Virginia. He studied at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He then studied at the Pratt...

  • Friedel Dzubas
    Friedel Dzubas
    Friedel Dzubas was a German-born American abstract painter.-Life and work:Friedel Dzubas studied art in his native land before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and settling in New York City. In Manhattan during the early 1950s, he shared a studio with fellow abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler...

  • Paul Feeley
    Paul Feeley
    Paul Feeley was an artist and director of the Art Department at Bennington College during the 1950s and early 1960s.-Biography:...

  • Sam Francis
    Sam Francis
    Samuel Lewis Francis was an American painter and printmaker.-Early life:...

  • Helen Frankenthaler
    Helen Frankenthaler
    Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

  • Sam Gilliam
    Sam Gilliam
    Sam Gilliam is internationally recognized as one of America's foremost Color Field Painter and Lyrical Abstractionist artists....

  • Robert Goodnough
    Robert Goodnough
    Robert Goodnough was an American abstract expressionist painter. A veteran of World War II, Goodnough was one of the last of the original generation of the New York School; , even though he began exhibiting his work in galleries in New York City in the...


  • Al Held
    Al Held
    Al Held was an American Abstract expressionist painter. He was particularly well known for his large scale Hard-edge paintings.-Background and education:...

  • Hans Hofmann
    Hans Hofmann
    Hans Hofmann was a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.-Biography:Hofmann was born in Weißenburg, Bavaria on March 21, 1880, the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann. When he was six he moved with his family to Munich...

  • Wolfgang Hollegha
    Wolfgang Hollegha
    Wolfgang Hollegha is an Austrian painter.- Biography :Hollegha was born in in Klagenfurt, Kärnten/Carinthia. From 1947 to 1954 he studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna with Josef Dobrovsky and Herbert Boeckl. In 1956, together with Josef Mikl, Markus Prachensky and Arnulf Rainer,...

  • John Hoyland
    John Hoyland
    John Hoyland RA was a London-based British artist. He was one of the country's leading abstract painters.-Life:...

  • Paul Jenkins
    Paul Jenkins (United States painter)
    - Biography :He was born in 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri. In Kansas City, the artist met Frank Lloyd Wright who was commissioned by the artist's great-uncle, the Rev. Burris Jenkins, to rebuild his church after a fire. Also during his years in Kansas City, the young Jenkins visited Thomas Hart...

  • Ellsworth Kelly
    Ellsworth Kelly
    Ellsworth Kelly is an American painter and sculptor associated with Hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and the Minimalist school. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing the simplicity of form found similar to the work of John McLaughlin. Kelly often employs bright colors to...

  • Paul Klee
    Paul Klee
    Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was, as well, a student of orientalism...

  • Ronnie Landfield
    Ronnie Landfield
    Ronnie Landfield is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, , and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.Landfield is...

  • Morris Louis
  • Henri Matisse
    Henri Matisse
    Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

  • John McLaughlin
    John McLaughlin (artist)
    John Dwyer McLaughlin was an American abstract painter. Based primarily in California, he was a pioneer in minimalist and hard-edge painting.-Life:...

  • Howard Mehring
    Howard Mehring
    Howard Mehring was a twentieth century painter born in Washington, D.C.Howard Mehring is associated with Color Field painting and the Washington Color School and the artists at Jefferson Place Gallery. Mehring and Robert Gates both received grants from THE Woodward Foundation to travel in Europe...

  • Mary Pinchot Meyer
    Mary Pinchot Meyer
    Mary Eno Pinchot Meyer was an American socialite, painter, former wife of Central Intelligence Agency official Cord Meyer and intimate friend of United States president John F. Kennedy, who was often noted for her desirable physique and social skills...

  • Joan Miró
    Joan Miró
    Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

  • Piet Mondrian
    Piet Mondrian
    Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

  • Robert Motherwell
    Robert Motherwell
    Robert Motherwell American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School , which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston....

  • Barnett Newman
    Barnett Newman
    Barnett Newman was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.-Early life:...


  • Kenneth Noland
    Kenneth Noland
    Kenneth Noland 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...

  • Jules Olitski
    Jules Olitski
    Jules Olitski was an American abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor.-Early life:Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski in Snovsk, in the Russian SFSR , a few months after his father, a commissar, was executed by the Russian government...

  • Ray Parker
    Ray Parker (painter)
    Raymond Parker was born in 1922 and he died in 1990. He was known as an Abstract expressionist painter who also is associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction...

  • William Perehudoff
    William Perehudoff
    William Perehudoff, OC, SOM is a Canadian artist, most closely associated with colour field painting. He is married to the landscape painter Dorothy Knowles.-Life and career:...

  • John Plumb
    John Plumb
    John Plumb was an English abstract painter who emerged in Britain after World War II. Plumb was born in Luton, and he went to the Byam Shaw School in London at the age of 20. He also studied at the Luton School of Art, and then the Central School in London with Victor Pasmore, and William Turnbull...

  • Larry Poons
    Larry Poons
    Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

  • Paul Reed
    Paul Reed (artist)
    Paul Reed is an American artist most associated with the Washington Color School and Color Field Painting.Reed was born in Washington DC and currently resides in the Virginia suburbs outside of DC. He attended and graduated from both San Diego State College in San Diego, CA and the Corcoran...

  • Ad Reinhardt
    Ad Reinhardt
    Adolph Frederick Reinhardt was an Abstract painter active in New York beginning in the 1930s and continuing through the 1960s. He was a member of the American Abstract Artists and was a part of the movement centered around the Betty Parsons Gallery that became known as Abstract Expressionism...

  • Jack Roth
    Jack Roth
    Jack Roth was a 20th century American painter who developed a style as an Abstract Expressionist, and as a Color Field painter...

  • Mark Rothko
    Mark Rothko
    Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz , was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".- Childhood :Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian...

  • John Seery
    John Seery
    John Seery is an American artist who is associated with the lyrical abstraction movement. He was born in Maspeth, New York, was raised in Flushing, Queens and as a teen, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.- Biography :...

  • David G. Sorensen
    David G. Sorensen
    David Sorensen was a Canadian artist. He studied at the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver School of Art under Arthur Erickson , Bill Reid and Jack Shadbolt and bronze casting in Mexico ) with a Theo Koerner grant...

  • Clyfford Still
    Clyfford Still
    Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism.-Biography:...

  • Frank Stella
    Frank Stella
    Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, significant within the art movements of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction.-Biography:...

  • Alma Woodsey Thomas
    Alma Woodsey Thomas
    Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African American Expressionist painter and art educator. She lived and worked primarily in Washington, D.C...

  • Anne Truitt
    Anne Truitt
    Anne Truitt was a major American artist of the mid-20th century; she is associated with both minimalism and Color Field artists like Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland....

  • Neil Williams
    Neil Williams (artist)
    Neil Williams was an American painter. Williams was an abstract painter primarily known for his pioneering work with shaped canvases in the early 1960s. His paintings of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are associated with geometric abstraction, hard-edge painting, color field, and lyrical abstraction,...

  • Larry Zox
    Larry Zox
    Lawrence "Larry" Zox was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical Abstractionist, although he did not readily use those categories for his work....



See also

  • Modern art
    Modern art
    Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

  • Western painting
    Western painting
    The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity. Until the mid-19th century it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor.Developments...

  • Abstract art
    Abstract art
    Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

  • concrete art
    Concrete art
    Concrete art and design or concretism is an abstractionist movement that evolved in the 1930s out of the work of De Stijl, the futurists and Kandinsky around the Swiss painter Max Bill. The term "concrete art" was first introduced by Theo van Doesburg in his "Manifesto of Concrete Art"...

  • Hard-edge painting
    Hard-edge painting
    Hard-edge painting is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas. Color areas are often of one unvarying color. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Op Art, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting.-History of the term:The term was...

  • Abstract Imagists
    Abstract Imagists
    Abstract Imagists is a term derived from a 1961 exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum, New York called American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists. This exhibition was the first in the series of programs for the investigation of tendencies in American and European painting and sculpture.-Style:It...

  • Lyrical Abstraction
    Lyrical Abstraction
    Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

  • Washington Color School
    Washington Color School
    A visual-art movement of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, the Washington Color School was originally a group of painters who showed works in the "Washington Color Painters" exhibit at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC from June 25-September 5, 1965. The exhibition...

  • Post-painterly abstraction
    Post-painterly Abstraction
    Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto....


Sources

  • Greenberg, Clement
    Clement Greenberg
    Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

    . Art and Culture, Beacon Press
    Beacon Press
    Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association.Beacon Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses....

    , 1961
  • Greenberg, Clement. Late Writings, edited by Robert C. Morgan
    Robert C. Morgan
    Robert C. Morgan is an American art critic, art historian, curator, poet, and visual artist.-Background:Robert C. Morgan received his M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975 and his Ph.D. in contemporary art history from New York University in 1978...

    , St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press
    University of Minnesota Press
    The University of Minnesota Press is a university press that is part of the University of Minnesota.Founded in 1925, the University of Minnesota Press is best known for its books in social and cultural thought, critical theory, race and ethnic studies, urbanism, feminist criticism, and media...

    , 2003.
  • Greenberg, Clement. Homemade Esthetics: Observations on Art and Taste. Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1999.
  • The Columbia Encyclopedia
  • Kleiner, Fred S.; and Mamiya, Christin J. , Gardner's Art Through the Ages (2004). Volume II. Wadsworth Publishing. ISBN 0-534-64091-5.
  • Schwabsky, Barry. "Irreplaceable Hue - Color Field Painting." Art Forum 1994. Look Smart 20 April 2007.
  • Color As Field:American Painting, 1950-1975., retrieved December 7, 2008
  • Wilkin, Karen
    Karen Wilkin
    Karen Wilkin is a New York-based independent curator and art critic specializing in 20th century modernism. Educated at Barnard College and Columbia University, she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship, to Rome...

     and Belz, Carl. Color As Field:American Painting, 1950-1975. Published: Yale University Press; 1 edition (November 29, 2007). ISBN 0-300-12023-0, ISBN 978-0-300-12023-3
  • Livingston, Jane. The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, with essays by John Elderfield
    John Elderfield
    John Elderfield was the Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 2003 to 2008.Elderfield studied the history of art at the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds...

    , Ruth E. Fine, and Jane Livingston. The Whitney Museum of American Art
    Whitney Museum of American Art
    The Whitney Museum of American Art, often referred to simply as "the Whitney", is an art museum with a focus on 20th- and 21st-century American art. Located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street in New York City, the Whitney's permanent collection contains more than 18,000 works in a wide variety of...

    , 1997, ISBN 0-520-21257-6
  • De Antonio, Emile and Tuchman, Mitchell. Painters Painting A Candid History of The Modern Art Scene, 1940-1970, Abbeville Press 1984, ISBN 0-89659-418-1
  • Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró
    Joan Miró
    Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride...

     Life and Work, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publisher, New York City, 1962, Library of Congreaa Catalog Card Number: 62-19132
  • Various authors: Barbara Rose
    Barbara Rose
    Barbara Rose is an American art historian and art critic. She was educated at Smith College, Barnard College and Columbia University. She was married to artist Frank Stella between 1961 and 1969...

    , Gerald Nordland, Walter Hopps
    Walter Hopps
    Walter Hopps was an American museum director and curator of contemporary art. His obituary in the Washington Post described him as a "sort of a gonzo museum director -- elusive, unpredictable, outlandish in his range, jagged in his vision, heedless of rules."Hopps was born in Eagle Rock, Los...

    , Hardy S. George; Breaking the Mold, Selections from the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, 1961-1968, exhibition catalogue, Oklahoma City Museum of Art 2007, ISBN 0-911919-05-8
  • Cynthia Goodman. Hans Hofmann
    Hans Hofmann
    Hans Hofmann was a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.-Biography:Hofmann was born in Weißenburg, Bavaria on March 21, 1880, the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann. When he was six he moved with his family to Munich...

    , with essays by Irving Sandler
    Irving Sandler
    Irving Sandler is an American art critic and educator. He has provided numerous first hand accounts of American art, particularly around the abstract expressionist circles of the 1950s, where he managed the Downtown Tanager Gallery and co-ordinated the New York artists' 'Club' from 1955 to its...

    , and Clement Greenberg
    Clement Greenberg
    Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

    ; Exhibition Catalog, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in association with Prestel-Verlag, Munich, ISBN 0-87427-070-7
  • Irving Sandler
    Irving Sandler
    Irving Sandler is an American art critic and educator. He has provided numerous first hand accounts of American art, particularly around the abstract expressionist circles of the 1950s, where he managed the Downtown Tanager Gallery and co-ordinated the New York artists' 'Club' from 1955 to its...

    . The New York School: The Painters and Sculptors of the Fifties, Harper & Row, 1978 ISBN 0-06-438505-1
  • Aldrich, Larry. Young Lyrical Painters, Art in America
    Art in America
    Art in America is an illustrated monthly, international magazine concentrating on the contemporary art world, including profiles of artists and genres, updates about art movements, show reviews and event schedules. It is designed for collectors, artists, dealers, art professionals and other...

    , v.57, n6, November-December 1969, pp. 104–113.
  • Peter Schjeldahl
    Peter Schjeldahl
    Peter Schjeldahl, , is an American art critic, poet, and educator.Schjeldahl was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He grew up in small towns throughout Minnesota, and attended Carleton College and The New School...

    . New Abstract Painting: A Variety of Feelings, Exhibition review, "Continuing Abstraction ", The Whitney Downtown Branch, 55 Water St. NYC. The New York Times, October 13, 1974.
  • Kertess, Klaus. Peter Young Paintings 1963-1980. Parc Foundation. ISBN 978-1-931885-68-1
  • Kertess, Klaus. The Nature of Paint, Ronnie Landfield:Forty Years of Color Abstraction, Exhibition Catalog, ISBN 978-0-9820841-2-0
  • Carmean, E.A. Toward Color and Field, Exhibition Catalogue, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 1971.
  • Carmean, E.A. Helen Frankenthaler A Paintings Retrospective, Exhibition Catalog, Harry N. Abrams in conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, ISBN 0-8109-1179-5
  • Henning, Edward B. Color & Field, Art International May 1971: 46-50.
  • Tucker, Marcia
    Marcia Tucker
    Marcia Tucker was the founding director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art from 1977 to 1999, a museum located in New York City, dedicated to innovative art and artistic practice...

    . The Structure of Color, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, 1971.
  • Robbins, Daniel. Larry Poons
    Larry Poons
    Lawrence Poons , better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician...

    : Creation of the Complex Surface, Exhibition Catalogue, Salander/O'Reilly Galleries, pp. 9–19, 1990.
  • Michael Fried. Morris Louis, Harry N. Abrams, Library of Congress Number: 79-82872

External links