Kenneth Noland

United States of America 1924 – 2010

Kenneth Noland was born on 10 April 1924 in Asheville, North Carolina. He studied at Black Mountain College near Asheville, from 1946 until 1948, when he left the college to work at Ossip Zadkine's studio in Paris. He had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Raymond Greuze, Paris, in 1949. Noland returned to the United States soon afterwards, settling in Washington DC and teaching at the Institute of Contemporary Art. While teaching evening classes at the Washington Workshop Center of the Arts in 1952 Noland met Morris Louis. The two artists visited New York in 1953 and were impressed by the stain techniques developed by Helen Frankenthaler. Both Noland and Louis began applying these after they returned to Washington. In 1954 Clement Greenberg selected Noland's work for inclusion in the exhibition Emerging Talent at the Kootz Gallery, New York, and in 1957 he had his first solo exhibition in New York at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

In 1958 Noland began working on his 'targets', paintings, based on concentric rings of colour. They were first shown at his solo exhibition at French and Company, New York, in 1959. During the early 1960s he participated in a number of important group exhibitions which brought together artists working in a style of hard-edge and stained colour-field abstraction, including American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1961, Geometric Abstraction in America at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1962, Towards a New Abstraction at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1963, and Clement Greenberg's Post-Painterly Abstraction at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964. In 1965 he was included, with Jules Olitski and Frank Stella, in the exhibition Three American Painters organised by Michael Fried at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Also in 1965 the Jewish Museum mounted an exhibition of his work, and a retrospective was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1977, touring other American cities. More recently an exhibition Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956–1963 was organised by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1994. Noland also sculptured and was a prolific printmaker. He lived and worked in South Shaftesbury, Vermont, and died on 5 January 2010 at Port Clyde in Maine.

See more works by this artist in the NGA collection

Kenneth Noland Oakum 1970 © Kenneth Noland. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1973 Learn more