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KENNETH NOLAND (1924-2010)

 
KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in. KENNETH NOLAND - Passage - acrylic on canvas - 69 1/2 x 140 1/2 in.
Passage196369 1/2 x 140 1/2 in.(176.53 x 356.87 cm) acrylic on canvas
Provenance
Private Collection, Florida
Sale: Christie's South Kensington: Friday, June 30, 2000 [Lot 00175], Twentieth Century Art
Private Collection, Florida, acquired from the above
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“Color can convey a total range of mood and expression, of one’s experience in life, without having to give it descriptive or literary qualities.” – Kenneth Noland

History

From late 1958 and until 1961, Kenneth Noland created a mystique of devotion to the circle to demonstrate he could advance color as the generating source capable of neutralizing layout, shape, and composition. Though he was a former student of Josef Albers and Ilya Bolotwosky, the vibrant, pulsing hues dedicated to that simple form arrived unexpectedly from a much younger source, the brilliant 24-year-old Helen Frankenthaler, when Noland, Morris Louis, and Clement Greenberg visited her New York studio on April 3, 1953. That date, now etched in the annals of Post War art lore marks a dawning of an era when Post-Painterly Abstraction and Color Field Painting were to become viable alternatives to gestural abstraction and action painting. The two artists, deeply moved by the translucence of Frankenthaler’s vibrant washes of Mountains and Sea, returned to Washington D.C. and began to experiment with thinned paint concoctions. But whereas Louis allowed gravity to drip and pour thinned acrylic to produce cascading, translucent color veils, Noland chose a more traditional approach. He applied paint with brush or roller and produced vibrant and pulsing hues to create a successive series of geometrically oriented pictures embracing circles, ovals, chevrons, stripes, and diamonds. For both artists, spatial resonance and the lyrical quality of pure color became the driving force of inspiration. But it was Noland’s sparse geometry that provided a context of order and symmetry that elevated the emotional impact of color in unsuspected ways.

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From late 1958 and until 1961, Kenneth Noland created a mystique of devotion to the circle to demonstrate he could advance color as the generating source capable of neutralizing layout, shape, and composition. Though he was a former student of Josef Albers and Ilya Bolotwosky, the vibrant, pulsing hues dedicated to that simple form arrived unexpectedly from a much younger source, the brilliant 24-year-old Helen Frankenthaler, when Noland, Morris Louis, and Clement Greenberg visited her New York studio on April 3, 1953. That date, now etched in the annals of Post War art lore marks a dawning of an era when Post-Painterly Abstraction and Color Field Painting were to become viable alternatives to gestural abstraction and action painting. The two artists, deeply moved by the translucence of Frankenthaler’s vibrant washes of Mountains and Sea, returned to Washington D.C. and began to experiment with thinned paint concoctions. But whereas Louis allowed gravity to drip and pour thinned acrylic to produce cascading, translucent color veils, Noland chose a more traditional approach. He applied paint with brush or roller and produced vibrant and pulsing hues to create a successive series of geometrically oriented pictures embracing circles, ovals, chevrons, stripes, and diamonds. For both artists, spatial resonance and the lyrical quality of pure color became the driving force of inspiration. But it was Noland’s sparse geometry that provided a context of order and symmetry that elevated the emotional impact of color in unsuspected ways.

More
  • Noland39082_history1
    Kenneth Noland in his studio during the 1960s, Photograph by Fred W. McDarrah
  • Noland39082_history2
    Kenneth Noland, “Beginning” (1956), magna on canvas Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Noland39082_history3
    Kenneth Noland, “Another World” (1963)
  • Noland39082_history4
    Helen Frankenthaler in front of “Mountains and Sea” (1952)
  • Noland39082_history5
    Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, 1952
“There’s no picture that I know of where the subject carries as much expressive possibility as the actual execution of the picture” – Kenneth Noland

MARKET INSIGHTS

  • Noland39082_AMRgraph
  • The graph by Art Market Research shows that since 1976, paintings by Kenneth Noland have increased at a 6.6% annual rate of return.
  • The record price for a Kenneth Noland painting at auction was just set in May 2021 when “Rocker” (1958) sold for $4,255,000 USD. Of the top 10 Noland sales at auction, 6 occurred within the last 5 years, signaling the strength of the artist’s market.
  • A comparable chevron painting, “Baba Yagga” (1964) sold for $2,355,000 USD in 2018, the 7th highest price at auction for a Noland painting.

Top Results at Auction

“Rocker” (1958), acrylic on canvas, 54.8 x 54.8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 12, 2021, for $4,255,000 USD
“Rocker” (1958), acrylic on canvas, 54.8 x 54.8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 12, 2021, for $4,255,000 USD
“Blue” (1960), oil on canvas, 60.5 x 59.3 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 16, 2019, for $3,500,000 USD
“Blue” (1960), oil on canvas, 60.5 x 59.3 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 16, 2019, for $3,500,000 USD
“Heat” (1958), acrylic on canvas, 65 x 63 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: November 12, 2015 for $3,370,000 USD
“Heat” (1958), acrylic on canvas, 65 x 63 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: November 12, 2015 for $3,370,000 USD
“Fair” (1960), oil on canvas, 56.1 x 56 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: November 16, 2017 for $3,136,000 USD
“Fair” (1960), oil on canvas, 56.1 x 56 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: November 16, 2017 for $3,136,000 USD

Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction

“Baba Yagga” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 64.3 x 66.3 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 17, 2018 for $2,355,000
“Baba Yagga” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 64.3 x 66.3 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 17, 2018 for $2,355,000
  • Similar chevron shape subject
  • From a year later
“Trans Flux” (1963), magna on canvas, 101.8 x 163 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 19, 2017 for $1,812,500
“Trans Flux” (1963), magna on canvas, 101.8 x 163 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: May 19, 2017 for $1,812,500
  • Same year
  • Chevron shape subject
“Across” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 95.7 x 115.9 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: May 18, 2018 for $1,722,500
“Across” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 95.7 x 115.9 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: May 18, 2018 for $1,722,500
  • Smaller painting from a year later
  • Chevron subject with similar color palette
“Blue-Green Confluence” (1963), acrylic on canvas, 70.1 x 70.1 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: November 14, 2019 for $975,000
“Blue-Green Confluence” (1963), acrylic on canvas, 70.1 x 70.1 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: November 14, 2019 for $975,000
  • Same year and subject
  • Similar color palette
  • Half the size

Paintings in Museum Collections

“Blue Veil” (1964), synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 69 7/8 x 69 7/8 in, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
“Blue Veil” (1964), synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 69 7/8 x 69 7/8 in, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
“Trans Shift” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 100 x 113 1/2 in, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
“Trans Shift” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 100 x 113 1/2 in, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
“New Day” (1967), acrylic on canvas, 89 3/8 × 184 ¼ in, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
“New Day” (1967), acrylic on canvas, 89 3/8 × 184 ¼ in, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
“October” (1961), acrylic on canvas, 94-1/4 x 92-1/4 x 1-3/8 in, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“October” (1961), acrylic on canvas, 94-1/4 x 92-1/4 x 1-3/8 in, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“Shoot” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 103 3⁄4 x 126 3⁄4 in., The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
“Shoot” (1964), acrylic on canvas, 103 3⁄4 x 126 3⁄4 in., The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
“There are two things that go on in art. There’s getting to the essential material and a design that’s inherent in the use of material, and also an essential level of expressiveness, a precise way of saying something rather than a complicated way.” – Kenneth Noland

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Other Works by Kenneth Noland