#23 D
1965
27.25" x 21.75"
Framed: 32.25" x 26.75"
Painting, oil on canvas
Signed and dated verso 1965
Reed’s disc paintings, ranging up to 7 by 9 feet in size, incorporate the triangle, circle and rectangle in varying color combinations. As Elisabeth Stevens explained at the time,

…the smoothly brushed backgrounds and the wedge-shaped areas he usually includes in the upper right and lower left corners are “unmixable” colors created by superimposing one layer of transparent acrylic on a lower layer that has already dried.

In 1965-1966 the discs were shown in a landmark traveling exhibition entitled Washington Color Painters organized by Gerald Nordland, which opened at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art near Dupont Circle. This marked the first formal recognition of a local “school” of painters including Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Howard Mehring and Paul Reed, all working in color abstraction. This was soon followed by Reed’s solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery.

Georgetown University Library
Evolution of Color

About the Artist
(1919 - 2015)
Paul Allen Reed was a prominent member of the Washington Color School – a group of Color Field painters who worked and exhibited in Washington, D.C.’s avant-garde art scene in the second half of the 20th century. Reed was closely acquainted with the artists at the Washington Workshop for the Arts, including Jacob Kainen, Kenneth Noland, and Morris Louis, as well as fellow Color Painters Gene Davis, Tom Downing, and Howard Mehring.

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