Hard-edge painting

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Hard-edge painting
Lorser Feitelson, "Untitled", 1952, 40 x 70 inches.jpg
Lorser Feitelson, Untitled 1952, 40 x 70 inches
Years active1950s-present
CountryUS
Major figures

Hard-edge painting is painting in which abrupt transitions are found between color areas. [1] Color areas are often of one unvarying color. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Op Art, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting. [2]

Contents

History of the term

The term was coined by writer, curator and Los Angeles Times art critic Jules Langsner, along with Peter Selz, in 1959, [3] to describe the work of painters from California, who, in their reaction to the more painterly or gestural forms of Abstract expressionism, adopted a knowingly impersonal paint application and delineated areas of color with particular sharpness and clarity. This approach to abstract painting became widespread in the 1960s, though California was its creative center.

Other, earlier, movements, or styles have also contained the quality of hard-edgedness, for instance the Precisionists also displayed this quality to a great degree in their work. Hard-edge can be seen to be associated with one or more school of painting, but is also a generally descriptive term, for these qualities found in any painting. Hard-edged painting can be both figurative or nonrepresentational.

In the late 1950s, Langsner and Peter Selz, then professor at the Claremont Colleges, observed a common link among the recent work of John McLaughlin (1898–1976), Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978), Karl Benjamin (1925-2012), Frederick Hammersley (1919–2009) and Feitelson's wife Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999). The group of seven gathered at the Feitelson's home to discuss a group exhibition of this nonfigurative painting style. Curated by Langsner, Four Abstract Classicists opened at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1959, then traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Exposition Park. Helen Lundeberg was not included in the exhibit. [4] These painters were featured in a touring exhibition during 2008 called "The Birth of the Cool" in California museums along with midcentury design, music and film. [5]

Exhibition

Four Abstract Classicists was subtitled California Hard-edge by British art critic and curator Lawrence Alloway when it traveled to England and Ireland. The term came into broader use after Alloway used it to describe contemporary American geometric abstract painting featuring "economy of form," "fullness of color," "neatness of surface," and the nonrelational arrangement of forms on the canvas.

In 1964, a second major hard-edge exhibition curated by Jules Langsner was held at the Pavilion Gallery in Balboa, CA (also known as the Newport Pavilion) with the cooperation of the Ankrum Gallery, Esther Robles Gallery, Felix Landau Gallery, Ferus Gallery and Heritage Gallery of Los Angeles. This was called, simply, California Hard-edge painting. Included in this show were Florence Arnold, John Barbour, Larry Bell, Karl Benjamin, John Coplans, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Helen Lundeberg, John McLaughlin, and Dorothy Waldman.

In 2000, Tobey C. Moss curated Four Abstract Classicists Plus One at her gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibit again featured John McLaughlin, Feitelson, Hammersley, and Benjamin, and added Lundeberg as the fifth of the original Hard-edge painters. In 2003, Louis Stern Fine Arts showed a retrospective exhibition for Lorser Feitelson entitled Lorser Feitelson and the invention of Hard-edge painting, 1945-1965. The same year, NOHO MODERN showed the works of June Harwood in an exhibition entitled June Harwood: Hard-edge painting Revisited, 1959-1969. Art critic Dave Hickey solidified the place of these 6 artists in: The Los Angeles School: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Helen Lundeberg, and John McLaughlin. The exhibition was held at the Ben Maltz Gallery of the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 2004-2005.

The style

This style of hard-edge geometric abstraction recalls the earlier work of Kasimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Theo van Doesburg, and Piet Mondrian. Other artists associated with Hard-edge painting include Herb Aach, Josef Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Max Bill, Ilya Bolotowsky, Herbert Busemann, Ralph Coburn, Nassos Daphnis, Ronald Davis, Gene Davis, Robyn Denny, Howard Mehring, Burgoyne Diller, Burhan Dogancay, John Ferren, Peter Halley, Al Held, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Jack Youngerman, Günther C. Kirchberger, Alexander Liberman, Agnes Martin, George L. K. Morris, Kenneth Noland, Ad Reinhardt, Deborah Remington, Bridget Riley, Ludwig Sander, David Simpson, Leon Polk Smith, Julian Stanczak, Jeffrey Steele, Frank Stella, Myron Stout, Leo Valledor, Victor Vasarely, Charmion von Wiegand, Neil Williams, John Stephan, Larry Zox, Mino Argento and Barbro Östlihn .

See also

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Eva Slater, a Hard-Edge artist was born in Berlin, Germany in 1922 and studied art at the Lette-Verein Academy. After World War II ended she moved to the United States where she worked as a fashion illustrator in New York City. After meeting her husband, John Slater, they moved to Los Angeles, California where she began studying painting at Art Center School of Design. It was there that she met Lorser Feitelson who founded the Los Angeles-based hard-edge art movement. Slater became a prominent member of the hard-edge movement from 1950 through the late 1960s.

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June Harwood was an American painter based in California who made a name for herself in the 1960s as an inventive artist of the hard-edge movement.

"Four Abstract Classicists" was a landmark exhibition organized by Jules Langsner in 1959. The show featured the work of Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin. The term “abstract classicists” was coined in 1959 by Langsner to define these four southern California painters.

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References

  1. "Hard edge painting – Art Term". Tate. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  2. "SBMA: exhibitions > current > Colorscope: Abstract Painting 1960-1979". sbmuseart.org. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-04-19.
  3. "Finding Aid for the Jules Langsner papers, 1941-1967". Online Archive of California. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  4. Finkel, Jori (2007-10-07). "Karl Benjamin's Colorful Resurgence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  5. "Birth of the Cool California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury". museumca.org. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04.

Sources