- Hard-edge painting
Hard-edge painting consists of rough, straight edges that are geometrically consistent. It encompasses rich solid colors, neatness of surface, and arranged forms all over the canvas. The Hard-edge painting style is related to
Geometric abstraction, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting. The term was coined by writer, curator and " Los Angeles Times" art critic Jules Langsner in 1959 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.
Hard edge is also a simply descriptive term, as applicable to past works as to future artistic production. The term refers to the abrupt transition across "hard edges" from one color area to another color area. Color within "color areas" is generally consistent, that is, homogenous. 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, Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley and Feitelson's wife Helen Lundeberg. 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 Los Angeles County Museum of Artin 1959. Helen Lundebergwas not included in the exhibit. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/arts/design/07fink.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin "Karl Benjamin’s Colorful Resurgence," accessed October 21, 2007] ] These painters are currently being featured in a touring exhibition called "The Birth of the Cool" in Californiamuseums along with midcentury design, musicand film. [http://www.museumca.org/exhibit/exhi_cool.html "Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury"accessed July 21, 2008]
"Four Abstract Classicists" was subtitled "California Hard-edge" by British art critic and curator
Lawrence Allowaywhen 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.
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 Galleryand 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.
2000, Tobey C. Moss curated "Four Abstract Classicists Plus One" at her gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibit again featured Feitelson, McLaughlin, 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 Hickeysolidified the place of these 6 artists in: "The Los Angeles School: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Helen Lundebergand John McLaughlin". The exhibition was held at the Ben Maltz Gallery of the Otis Art Institutein Los Angelesin 2004- 2005.
This style of geometric abstraction recalls the earlier work of
Josef Albersand Piet Mondrian. Other artists associated with Hard-edge painting include Richard Anuszkiewicz, Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Robert Irwin, David Simpson, Barnett Newman, Nassos Daphnis, Agnes Martin, Myron Stout, Al Held, Ludwig Sander, Burgoyne Diller, Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Liberman, Gene Davis, John Levee, Morris Louis, Larry Zox, Brice Marden, Ronald Davis, Ronnie Landfield, Larry Poons, Charles Hinman, Sven Lukin, Leo Valledor, David Diao, Pat Lipsky, Kenneth Noland, Neil Williams, David Novros, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella, Leon Polk Smith, Sean Scully, Peter Halley, Robert Indianaand Jack Youngerman.
*NOHO MODERN (2003) "June Harwood: Hard-Edge Painting Revisited, 1959-1969" exhibition catalogue, [http://www.nohomodern.com/exhibition.htm]
*Louis Stern Fine Arts (2003) "Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard-Edge Painting, 1945-1965" exhibition catalogue, [http://www.louissternfinearts.com/past_exhibitions.html]
*Moss, Tobey C. (2000). "Four Abstract Classicists Plus One" exhibition catalogue, [http://www.tobeycmossgallery.com/]
*Nittve, et al. (1998). "Sunshine & Noir: Art in LA 1960-1997". Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.