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ColorField’s Art League Roots

Art League instructor Joyce McCarten lent the Gallery Pretoria by her late husband, Washington Color School painter Donald McCarten, for display during the ColorField exhibit.
Art League instructor Joyce McCarten lent the Gallery Pretoria by her late husband, Washington Color School painter Donald McCarten, for display during the ColorField exhibit.

The second exhibit in our special 60th Anniversary series, “ColorField,” pays homage not just to art history, but also to Art League history and The Art League’s close ties to the local Washington Color School.

The Art League School, then called the Workshop, was hitting its stride in the 1960s and 70s, the same time the Washington Color School became active. Painters central to the movement, including Gene Davis, Paul Reed, Leon Berkowitz, Lou Stovall, and Sam Gilliam, all taught at The Art League during those years, and they continue to inspire our artists today.

Lou Stovall giving a workshop to a group of Art League artists, 1971.
Lou Stovall giving a workshop to a group of Art League artists, 1971.

The artists of the Washington Color School made color the central subject of their paintings and prints, exploring the phenomenon of color on its own. Artists in all media took direction from the movement for our ColorField exhibit, and two speakers will be giving free lectures on both the Washington Color School and the larger Color Field movement.

Joyce McCarten, an Art League instructor and abstract painter, will speak March 27 on the Washington Color School and the work of her late husband and Washington Color School artist Donald McCarten. On April 5, Timothy App, an abstract painter, professor of art at MICA, and juror for “ColorField,” will speak on the importance of Color Field in art history. Click here to RSVP for these free events.

A 1971 workshop schedule with evening classes by Paul Reed and Lou Stovall.
A 1971 workshop schedule with evening classes by Paul Reed and Lou Stovall.

Washington Color School painters will also be featured in a special August and September exhibit featuring Art League Faculty, “Inspiration and Influence.” This offsite exhibit of select works from past and present faculty will feature notable artists including celebrated painter Danni Dawson and Washington Color School painter Gene Davis.

ColorField

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