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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© Estate of Kenneth Noland/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY,
American, 1924 - 2010
Acrylic on canvas

68 5/8 x 68 5/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase

Arts of North America

Kenneth Noland was a leading proponent of Color Field painting. Along with Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, he pioneered a stain painting technique, using first oil, then acrylic-based Magna, on raw, unprimed canvas. This method allowed for a remarkable directness of color.
Half is one of a series of approximately 200 concentric-circle paintings Noland created between 1956 and 1963. Each painting varies in terms of the number, width, placement, and color of the circles. Working from the center outward, Noland applied paint directly onto raw canvas so that it soaked into the material, achieving an extraordinary degree of chromatic vibrancy. The visual drama of Half is in part due to the contrast between the expansive painterliness of the outermost circle and the more restrained geometries of the inner circles. The shifting color values add further drama, ranging from cool green to a deep celestial blue, creating an image that seems to bloom and pulsate, expand and contract.