"Untitled," 2009 by Kenneth Noland
Untitled, 2009; Etching and aquatint in colors, on wove paper; Signed with initials K N lower right and numbered 42/65 in pencil bottom left; Pace Editions, Inc., New York; Size - 35 1/4 x 35", Frame 38 1/2 x 38"; Framed floated on a white mat, white wood frame, & plexiglass.
"I knew what a circle could do. Both eyes focus on it. It stamps itself out, like a dot. This, in turn, causes one's vision to spread, as in a mandala in Tantric art." - Kenneth Noland
In October of 1952 Helen Frankenthaler, after a trip to Nova Scotia, had a breakthrough with a painting entitled "Mountains and Sea." The painting was abstract and rather than painting the landscape that she saw on her trip, the work portrayed the experience itself. The abstract image was painted using a "soak stain" technique, whereby unprimed canvas duct is painted using oil paint that had been heavily thinned with turpentine. The effects of the technique reinforced the abstract nature of the landscape painting; and when the artists Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis saw it in her studio in New York, their own painting styles were forever changed.
On the train ride back to Washington DC, Noland and Louis realized that Frankenthaler's painting was their key to finding their own paths. Each made the decision to disregard all his own prior work and begin fresh. Noland stated, "We were interested in Pollock but could gain no lead from him. He was too personal. But Frankenthaler showed us a way - a way to think about and use color." Morris Louis found is structure for his color field paintings first with the unfurl series; and soon after Kenneth Noland found his, with the circle paintings. "I knew what a circle could do. Both eyes focus on it. It stamps itself out, like a dot. This, in turn, causes on's vision to spread, as in a mandala in Tantric art," Kenneth Noland.
The circle paintings in the 1960's were Noland's first color format; but would be followed over the years by chevrons, strips, plaids, and irregular painting series. Noland would return to these early formats in the 1990's using opaque and bold acrylics, however the soak stain technique from the 1960's are by far his greatest achievement.
This is an absolutely wonderful etching and aquatint by Kenneth Noland! The inner circle is a strong bold blue with outward circles of a washed light purple and a rich dark green. The ground is a soft blue which further enhances the interactions of the color fields, overall composition, and balance. To further activate the surface and create an additional circle field, a soft blue line is at the margin for the outer circle, which then fades as a soft mist into the blue ground. A stunning work by Kenneth Noland and a beautiful addition to any art collection!
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