Hard edges painting
Hard edges painting (from the English hard edge) is the direction of abstract painting of the 2nd half of the 20th century, in which color spots are separated by hard borders. This style is associated with geometric abstraction, post-painting abstraction and color field painting. The term was proposed by the writer, curator and art critic of the Los Angeles Times, Jules Langsner (English) in 1958. Although this definition could be applied to such areas as purism, more often by painting rigid contours they mean the type of painting that arose as a reaction to the spontaneity and pictorial technique of abstract expressionism.
The largest representatives of this direction are Ellsworth Kelly and Kenneth Noland. Also, the painting of hard contours includes the early works of Joseph Alberts and Pete Mondrian.
In the late 1950s, Langsner and Peter Selz, later Professor Claremont Colleges, noticed similarities in the works of John McLaughlin, Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley and Helen Lundeberg. Langsner was the curator of the Four Abstract Classicists exhibition opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1959. This exhibition received the subtitle California Hard-edge, which was added by British art critic and curator Lawrence Alloway when exhibited in the UK. The term then gained wider use when Alloway used it to describe modern American geometric abstraction.
In 1964, the second major exhibition of “painting of rigid contours,” curated by Jules Langsner, was presented in Balboa. It was simply called California Hard Contour Painting. The exhibition included works by Florence Arnold, John Barbour, Larry Bell, Karl Benjamin, John Coplans, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, June Harwood, Helen Lundeberg, John McLaughlin and Dorothy Waldman. In 2000, Four Abstract Classicists Plus One held an exhibition in Los Angeles, which included works by Feitelson, McLaughlin, Hammersley, and Benjamin, as well as Lundeberg. In 2003, a retrospective of Lorser Feitelson was held, entitled Lorser Feitelson and the invention of Hard-edge painting, 1945-1965. In the same year, NOHO MODERN showed the work of June Harwood at the June Harwood: Hard-edge painting Revisited, 1959-1969.