A 100-picture exhibition of the works of Kenneth Noland, whose paintings helped initiate the Washington color school, will open here next fall at two museums.
The Noland retrospective will be shared by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, a private institution, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the federal museum on the Mall.
Noland was a close friend of the reclusive Morris Louis. The two men met in Washington in 1952. Both of them were teachers at the Washington Workshop Center, they visited New York galleries together, and in the early '50s sometimes worked on the same canvas. Noland, who moved to Washington in 1951, painted in this city until 1962, the year that Louis died.
The Noland retrospective, which surveys 30 years of the artists's work, is his first museum show since 1965. It is being organized by Diane Waldman, curator of exhibitions at New York's Guggenheim Museum, and will open there April 15.
His smaller, early works will be displayed at the Hirshhorn. These include the concentric circle pictures he did in Washington. His later, larger paintings, the "chevrons," the "diamonds," and the big "horizontal" pictures (one is 30 feet wide), will be installed at the Corcoran where the exhibition galleries are more generously scaled. The two-part show, which will open the fall season, will be on view from Sept. 29 through Nov. 27.
Stephen Weil, the Hirshhorn's deputy director, suggested dividing the exhibitions. Weil, formerly of the Whitney Museum of American Art, worked with Waldman in New York.
Noland was born in Ashville, N.C. in 1924. He studied at Black Mountain College with Ilya Bolotowsky, a Mondrian disciple, and with colorist Josef Albers. He also seems to have been influenced by the Washington collection of the late Duncan Phillips, who had a color-oriented eye.
Noland was one of the first Washington color painters to use masking tape, hard edges and geometric formats. He now lives on a farm, once owned by the poet Robert Frost, in South Shaftbury, Vt.