"Abstract colour field artist with shades of Bauhaus, seen as a successor to Matisse"
The Guardian UK - Kenneth Noland, who has died of cancer aged 85, was one of the young artists tasked with seizing the star-spangled standard from the preceding warrior generation of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko and bearing it aloft into battle. Even more than this, Noland enjoyed having Americans claiming him as the successor to the mantle of Matisse, but in truth he had more in common with the Bauhaus abstractionist Josef Albers, who moved to the US and taught Noland at Black Mountain college, North Carolina. Noland disliked what he regarded as Albers's doctrinaire approach, but his own practice of geometric abstraction remained indelibly marked by the old German's influence.
Noland became celebrated in the 1950s for his series of concentric circles in a dazzling array of colours; not, like the paintings of Jasper Johns, targets, but circles as a simple geometric form that could demonstrate an infinite number of colour combinations. Next came circles with blurred edges, like blazing catherine wheels, diamond shapes, diamonds within circles, chevrons and stripes. The message was colour, usually pure and always simple. Read more.