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Remembering Kenneth Noland (1924-2010)

Jan 06, 2010

The entire Bennington community mourns the loss of Kenneth Noland, an internationally celebrated abstract painter and former College trustee, who died on Tuesday, January 5, at 85 years old.

Mr. Noland, who by 1960 was considered a major figure in American art, was the subject of an exhibition at Bennington in 1961 organized by influential art critic Clement Greenberg and faculty member Paul Feeley (mentor of painter Helen Frankenthaler '49—a major influence of Mr. Noland's).

In 1963, Mr. Noland moved to South Shaftsbury, Vermont, establishing close working relationships with Feely and Bennington faculty members Jules Olitski and Anthony Caro. Dubbed the "Green Mountain Boys" by Vogue in 1966, the four abstract artists helped put Bennington on the map as a visual arts mecca, attracting other prominent artists and critics to the College.

Clement, a frequent lecturer at Bennington who championed Mr. Noland's work as a pioneering Color Field painter, wrote of his signature, concentric-circle paintings: "His color counts by its clarity and its energy; it is not there neutrally, to be carried by the design and drawing; it does the carrying itself."

Since 1949, Mr. Noland's work has appeared in prestigious museums, biennials, and galleries around the world. His final exhibition, Kenneth Noland Shaped Paintings 1981-82, at the Leslie Feely Fine Art Gallery in New York, was scheduled to close this week.

Mr. Noland served as a Bennington College trustee from 1985-90.

To read his obituary in The New York Times, click here.