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Kenneth Noland

Paintings 1975 – 2003

Kenneth Noland Comet, 1983.

Kenneth Noland Comet, 1983.

Kenneth Noland Mysteries: Night + Day, 2003.

Kenneth Noland Mysteries: Night + Day, 2003.

Kenneth Noland Vault, 1976.

Kenneth Noland Vault, 1976.

Kenneth Noland Range, 1981.

Kenneth Noland Range, 1981.

About Kenneth Noland

Kenneth Noland (b. 1924, Asheville, North Carolina; d. 2010, Port Clyde, Maine) was a primary force in the development of postwar abstract art and color field painting. He attended Black Mountain College in the late forties, exhibiting an early interest in the emotional effects of color and geometric forms. His commitment to line and color can be traced throughout his prolific oeuvre, including his Circle paintings and extending through a visual language of chevrons, diamonds, horizontal bands, plaid patterns, and shaped canvases.

In 1977 a major traveling retrospective of the artist’s work was presented by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In response, late art critic of The New York Times Hilton Kramer wrote, “An art of this sort places a very heavy burden on the artist’s sensibility for color, of course—on his ability to come up, again and again, with fresh and striking combinations that both capture and sustain our attention, and provide the requisite pleasures…Mr. Noland is unquestionably a master.” The exhibition traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, before closing at the Denver Art Museum.

Press Release

  • Kenneth Noland: Paintings 1975 – 2003


    New York—Pace Gallery will present an exhibition of nearly 30 years of work by Kenneth Noland (b. 1924, Asheville, North Carolina– d. 2010, Port Clyde, Maine) on view from March 21 through April 19, 2014 at 32 East 57th Street, New York. A fully illustrated catalogue with a new essay by William Agee, Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History at Hunter College, will be published on the occasion of this exhibition.

    As William Agee writes, “By 1960, Ken Noland had become an artist of the first rank, often great, and a primary force in the development of abstract art. Nothing since has changed that; and, as we are now learning, he retained and even furthered that standing after 1976 until his death in 2010. His was from start to finish an art of color, part of a long tradition that dates in the modern era to Impressionism, runs through Cézanne and Matisse, into the twentieth century…,” In 1977, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum organized his first retrospective which traveled to Washington D.C.’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Toledo Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum. In the same year, the artist was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

    Kenneth Noland: Paintings 1975 – 2003 surveys 30 years of work that followed the artist’s Guggenheim retrospective, beginning with the most recent painting from that exhibition, the asymmetrical, shaped canvas Vault (1976). In Pace’s exhibition, Noland’s returns to the chevron, an iconic shape and pattern that he first explored in the 1960s. In Comet (1983) and Songs: Indian Love Call (1984) the vertical v-shape is utilized to hold a range of color applied in various depths, thick and thin.

    Noland’s melding of shape and color is evident in a selection of work on view from his Flares and Doors series. Flares: Homage to Matisse (1991) is an acknowledgement of the 20th century master’s brilliant use of color. In his own carefully considered approach to painting, Noland showed admiration for Matisse, having once said, “…I think that when you experience art – I mean really have that experience – when you’re looking at it, it tends to lose gravity. It tends to float...It’s true of Matisse as an example – I mean, Matisses really float. And I think content comes from this experience, from kinetic experience.”

    Also included in Pace’s exhibition are works from Noland’s Mysteries series, paintings composed of concentric or horizontal bands of varying width and color. By 2001, the artist had moved to Port Clyde, Maine from Santa Barbara, California where he had maintained a studio for 20 years. On the East Coast, the light and landscape Noland observed captured his imagination and influenced his work in new ways. Agee writes, “The colors seem to contract and expand in a pattern of pull and release, in tune with the world around the artist.”

    Kenneth Noland attended Black Mountain College in the late 1940s, where he studied under Ilya Bolotowsky and Josef Albers upon returning from World War II. In Paris, working with sculptor Ossip Zadkine, he was first exposed to the work of Henri Matisse and developed an interest in the emotional effects of color and geometric forms.

    In the 1950s Noland met and developed important associations with artists David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Anthony Caro as well as critic Clement Greenberg. In 1957, Kenneth Noland was given his first solo exhibition in New York and by 1964 he was invited to participate in the Venice Biennale.

    Between 1979 and 1985, at Kathy Halbreich‘s instigation, the artist worked on a commission for I.M. Pei’s Wiesner Building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a significant project that is celebrated for its integration of art and architecture. Critic Kathy Wilkin wrote that “the building is inconceivable without the mural’s unpredictable flashes of color… It may be the most successful fusion of art and architecture since the 17th century.”

    His work has since been the subject of exhibitions at prestigious institutions throughout North America, Mexico and Europe, including Kenneth Noland at the Jewish Museum, New York (1965); Kenneth Noland: A Retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York, which travelled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Toledo Museum of Art, and the Denver Art Museum (1977-1978); Kenneth Noland at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (1980); Kenneth Noland: Winds, Painted Monotypes at Museum de Arte Moderno, Mexico City (1983); Kenneth Noland: Pinturas, Monotipos at Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Spain (1985); Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963 (1993) and Kenneth Noland: The Nature of Color (2004) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate08 Series: Kenneth Noland: The Stripe Paintings at Tate Liverpool, UK (2006). Forty-three years after his mid-career retrospective, Kenneth Noland was honored with a memorial exhibition of four paintings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, (Kenneth Noland, 1924-2010), once again acknowledging his major contributions to the history of abstraction.

    Kenneth Noland also taught at various art schools including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C. (1949-51); Catholic University, Washington, D.C., (1951-60), and the Washington Workshop Center of the Arts, (1952-56); and Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 1985 where he served as Milton Avery Professor of the Arts.

    Noland’s work is included in the collections of prominent institutions worldwide including: the Art Institute of Chicago; Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Kunsthaus, Zurich; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Philips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

    For more information about Kenneth Noland, please contact Madeline Lieberberg at 212.421.8987212.421.8987 / For general inquiries, please email; for reproduction requests, email

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William Agee

2014. Pace Gallery. Paperback

76 pages: 55 color illustrations; 10 ½ x 9 ½ inches



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