Kenneth Noland and Abstract Art

Noland painting in 1968. Image from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

On April 10, 1924, abstract artist Kenneth Noland was born in Asheville. Noland devoted much of his career to the artistic genre of color field abstraction. He studied and painted the interaction of contrasting and complementing colors. His most famous paintings feature a circle or chevron pattern that contains a distinct array of colors.

After a four-year stint in the Air Force, Nolan enrolled at Black Mountain College, not far from his hometown. The experimental liberal arts college challenged students to learn through their own creative approach. During his time at Black Mountain College, Noland learned Professor Josef Albers’ color theory and was greatly influenced by geometric abstractionist Ilya Bolotowsky. From Black Mountain, he went on to Paris to study artist Ossip Zadkins in 1949 before returning to the United States and teaching in Washington, D.C. and New York for the remainder of his career.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

ew kind of American abstraction based on the primacy of color.”