Kenneth Noland



Not on display

Kenneth Noland 1924–2010
Acrylic paint on canvas
Support: 1770 × 1770 mm
frame: 1792 × 1792 × 32 mm
Purchased 1965

Display caption

Like 'Gift' (also in this room), 'Drought' belongs to the series of target paintings which Noland executed between 1958 and 1962. 'Drought' is a later work than 'Gift'. Its narrower bands of colour make it less target-like, and they emphasise the effect of rotation which Noland was seeking. This effect is enhanced further by the introduction of irregular staining at the edge of the outer ring. Previously, Abstract Expressionist painters such as de Kooning and Rothko had been seeking to express intensity of feeling in their paintings. In creating an illusion of rotation, 'Drought' demonstrates that the intensity sought by Noland was visual rather than emotive.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Kenneth Noland born 1924

T00763 Drought 1962

Inscribed "'Drought" 1962 Kenneth Noland' on back of canvas
Acrylic on canvas, 69 1/2 x 69 1/2 (176.5 x 176.5)
Purchased from the Galerie Rudolf Zwirner (Grant-in-Aid) 1965
Prov: With Galerie Lawrence, Paris (purchased from the artist 1962); with Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne
Exh: Kenneth Noland, Galerie Lawrence, Paris, April-May 1963 (works not listed)
Repr: Kenworth Moffett, Kenneth Noland (New York 1977), pl.115

This is one of the last group of Noland's series of 'target' pictures which were painted from 1958-62, although the irregular halo and effect of rotation relate to the earlier ones. It was originally hung, according to the artist's indications, so that the two large white gaps in the fourth ring from the outside of the 'target' were at 3 and 5 o'clock. At the end of 1965 he visited the Gallery and decided that the effect of the picture would be improved by turning it 90§ so that these gaps came at 12 and 2 o'clock. The illusion of rotation that the slight irregularities produce is heightened by this change.

Kenneth Noland told the compiler that the titles of his works were always given after they were finished.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.564, reproduced p.564

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