NOW ON VIEW through December 15, 2017
Washington Color School: 50 Years Later
Bethesda Fine Art presents an important selection of museum-quality works by icons of the Washington Color School. This show marks a half century after this group of painters first solidified Washington’s place in the national art scene. Their exhibition at the former Washington Gallery of Modern Art impressed critics and collectors alike and defined the city's signature movement. Characterized by controlled, hard edge, and stain techniques, this loosely formed group moved away from the gestural pictures of their predecessors, the Abstract Expressionists.
The show offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with pieces by Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Paul Reed, and Kenneth Young. These are paired with the work of other artists associated with the movement—Cynthia Bickley, Willem de Looper, Sam Gilliam, James Hilleary, Jacob Kainen, Dan Yellow Kuhne and Robert Goodnough. The carefully curated selection of works highlights the use of strong and brilliant color that was common to artists of the period.
IN THE NEWS
Washington Color School show gets reviewed in The Washington Post (December 8, 2017)
A tribute to Kenneth Young in the Washington City Paper (June 2, 2017): Late Artist Kenneth Young Is Finally Getting His Due
We are proud to announce the installation of Kenneth Victor Young's Red Dance at the National Gallery of Art, East Building.
Young's work, along with Cynthia Bickley's painting, is now installed at the newly opened MGM Grand Resort & Casino in National Harbor.
The Art of Kenneth Young: 1933-2017
For the first time, Bethesda Fine Art presents a retrospective of the late artist Kenneth Young. The show features the evolution of the artist’s paintings from the 1960s and '70s through the early 2000s. Works are shown from museum and individual collections, as well as the artist’s private collection.
Made in DC: Washington Color School and More
This show features works from the '60s and '70s by Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, Cynthia Bickley, Kenneth Victor Young, and others.
Kenneth Victor Young: Washington Color School Artist Rediscovered
Bethesda Fine Art's exhibition Kenneth Victor Young: Washington Color School Rediscovered was on view November 15-December 20, 2014. It featured a retrospective of the artist’s paintings from the 1960s and '70s from museum and individual collections, as well as the artist’s private collection.
BIOGRAPHY OF KENNETH VICTOR YOUNG
Kenneth Victor Young may have been the most important rediscovery of a great talent from the Washington Color School years of the mid-60s and early '70s. Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1933, he arrived in Washington in the mid-60s and started painting his lyrical abstract images with washed acrylics on unprimed canvas. His studies in physics and the natural sciences at Indiana University informed a different imagery—a fusion of brilliant colors. His knowledge of form and matter gave his paintings a spatial intensity, and he infused this space with multiple orbs of color held together in molecular suspension.
In 1970, Barbara Rose wrote an important article “Black Art in America” for Art in America in which she cited Kenneth Young as an artist of special promise. After being included in several museum and gallery exhibitions, he was awarded a solo show at Fisk University in 1973. This was followed by a solo show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington in 1974, where he showed huge canvases of luminous colors. The Corcoran was the major force in collecting and exhibiting the Washington Color School painters. Young attributes the vibrant colors and fluid shapes to the rhythms of jazz and the philosophical theories he shared with fellow artists Bob Thompson and Sam Gilliam. We sense these rhythms from the pensive soul of the artist, coming to us as paint on canvas.
While exhibiting constantly, Young started working in the '60s full-time at the Smithsonian Institution as an exhibition designer. He retired after 35 years from an illustrious career there. His work took him to India, Egypt, and Europe, all of which brought greater depth and passion to his work. One of his untitled works, an intense and deep painting from 1973, is presently touring with a Smithsonian American Art Museum show about African American art in the 20th century.
It has been an our honor at Bethesda Fine Art to bring together an exhibition of major paintings by Kenneth Victor Young from the '60s and '70s. While he has had many museum and gallery shows since that time, these paintings, many of which were in the Corcoran show, haven’t been seen together since 1974. Here one can experience the vibrancy and translucence of these canvases, and rediscover great paintings from this historic period of Washington art.
Gene Davis, Popsicle, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 68" x 66"
Kenneth Victor Young, Red Dance, 1970, acrylic on canvas.
Below: A children's class learns about color field painting through Young's work.
Below: Installation at National Gallery of Art