Art Term

Washington Color School

The Washinton Color School was an art movement founded by Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland that emerged in the late 1950s in Washington DC and flourished in the 1960s, promoting a form of abstract art developed from colour field painting

Kenneth Noland, ‘Drought’ 1962
Kenneth Noland
Drought 1962
© The estate of Kenneth Noland /VAGA, New York/DACS, London 2019

The Washington Color School was founded in response to the abstract expressionism of the New York school. An exhibition of their paintings in 1965 at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art cemented their reputation for creating paintings that disregarded structure for colour. Many of the artists used acrylic paint on raw canvas, which led to the description hard edge painting.

Artists associated with Washington color school include Sam Gilliam, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Alma Thomas.

Related terms and concepts

Selected artists in the collection

Selected artworks in the collection

Kenneth Noland Gift


Morris Louis Phi


Morris Louis VAV


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