Sixties painting was variously termed Colourfield, Hard Edge, Minimal, and post-painterly abstraction, and was linked with Pop Art, Op (optical) Art, chromatic art, kinetic abstraction, wholistic art, pure-painting, geometric abstraction, ABC Art, Cool Art, Non-gestural Painting, Non- Relationalism, Abstract Mannerism and Abstract Sublime painting.
The painters linked in this study with ‘Colourfield’, ‘Hard Edge’ ‘Minimal’ and ‘Post-Painterly Abstraction’ painting include Minimal artists such as Brice Marden, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt and Robert Ryman; Colourfield painters such as Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Gilliam and Morris Louis; post-painterly abstractionists such as Frank Stella, David Novros, Richard Diebenkorn, Al Held, Jo Baer and Jules Olitski; and Hard Edge painters such as Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Mangold, Joseph Albers and Elisabeth Murray.
Colourfield, Minimal, Hard Edge and Post-Painterly Abstract painting had a distinctly American (and New York) flavour to it, even if it was not produced in America or by US artists. In Bruce Glaser’s “Questions to Andre and Judd”, Donald Judd continually stressed the point that the new (Minimal) art was definitely American and non-European. Time and again Judd insisted that the new art was to trying to get away from the European tradition. ‘It suits me fine if that’s all down the drain’, Judd said. ‘I’m totally uninterested in European art and I think it’s over with.’
Many of the Colourfield and Sixties painters have made extremely brilliantly colourful works in the 1960s, then turned back to the sombre colours of grey and black in the late 1980s and 1990s. Painters such as Brice Marden, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns and Jules Olitski are ambiguous about saturated colour: they moved back and forth from monochrome greys and blacks to full colour. In the late 1980s and the 1990s, painters such as Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Jules Olitski and Larry Poons moved from bright colour to muted monochrome. Mid-1990s works by Frank Stella were unpainted, using instead the natural colours of metal and wood; Brice Marden turned from his luscious monochromes of the 1970s and 1980s to the black-and-white of Chinese calligraphy in the Cold Mountain series and other works.
Fully illustrated, with notes and bibliography.