As Washington D.C. emerged as an artistic center in the late 60’s with Washington Color School artists at the forefront, three pioneering female artists began their careers — Cynthia Bickley-Green, Joan Danziger, and Mimi Herbert. Each demonstrated a freedom of vision in the DC art scene, making their marks in the typically male-dominated fields of color field painting or sculpture. Now in their 80s, these women continue to innovate in their respective fields. All three artists are currently represented in major museums and collections, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the National Gallery of Art. While their names might not be widely recognized, their work is still highly visible throughout the District and their contributions helped advance the position of women in modern art.
Mimi Herbert's folded acrylic sculptures join works by Sally Michel Avery and Wolf Kahn in an exhibition emphasizing color, form, and light.
Jo Fleming Contemporary Art will be featuring Dan Kuhne in an upcoming exhibition. Grand impressionist landscape masterpieces are a cornerstone of Maryland artist, Dan Kuhne’s rich career. They utilize synesthesia: exploring several senses at one time… music, dance, as well as visual, where forest becomes figure, line becomes movement and music.
Kuhne studied at the University of Maryland, and later took classes with Washington Color School artists including Gene Davis. He exhibited in the D.C. area during the 1970s at venues including Corcoran Gallery of Art and the University of Maryland. The Phillips Collection hosted a solo show of his work in 1972. Kuhne developed expertise in drawing, print, watercolor, as well as grand-scaled oil painting. Kuhne exhibited in the D.C. area at the Corcoran School of Arts & Design in 2018. His works are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, University of Maryland, Baltimore Museum of Art and American University Museum.
This new exhibition at the Taylor Graham Gallery will feature 6 folded and formed acrylic sculptures by Washington Color School sculptor Mimi Herbert.
Bursting with lush color, and visually irresistible, Mimi Herbert’s folded acrylic sculptures seem deceptively simple. Achieved through team work, careful execution, and planning, as all great sculptures have been done in the past, they are equally at home in a traditional interior or a minimalist setting.
We are happy to announce the acquisition of Mimi Herbert’s Butterfly by The Phillips Collection. Butterfly will be featured in the upcoming Phillips exhibition Pour, Tear, Carve: Material Possibilities in the Collection opening on March 18th. The exhibition highlights the role that sculptural material plays in the artistic process and reveals how materials inform space and memory while engaging the senses. Herbert’s unique practice of forming acrylic sheets makes her work an exemplary inclusion in this exhibit, and we are excited to bring her work to a larger audience through this exhibition.
The annual Annie Award from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County publicly recognizes exceptional artists for their lasting, significant, and inspiring contributions to an art form, an arts organization and/or to the wider community of Anne Arundel County. For the 2022 Annie Award for Visual Art, Kuhne's honorees cited his longtime arts teaching and paintings of the local landscape: "He records the many moods of Anne Arundel County. The rivers, the land, the weather, the flora and fauna, all the while expressing his love for nature. His work is expressive and romantic, a joy with which to live. He is 80 years of age now. It's time for us to honor him with an Annie."
The Smithsonian Museum of American Art recently acquired Dagley's painting, Hero (1987), the first museum in Washington, DC, the artist's hometown, to do so. Dagley's work can also be found in the collections of The Ludwig Collection, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires, and more.
This historic 1984 interview was part of Smithsonian Archives of American Art's Oral History Program, which documents the history of the visual arts in the United States.
Please enjoy some excerpts where the two artists discuss their beginnings in Louisville, the influence of jazz, fellow Color school artists, and technique of using acrylic paint.
Bethesda Fine Art is proud to present #Corcoran1970s, an exhibition celebrating the circle of abstract artists who showed, taught, and were affiliated with the Corcoran Gallery of Art in the 1970s. The Corcoran Gallery of Art was an artistic center for Washington, D.C. artists, particularly abstractionists, during the 1970’s. Active in the Corcoran’s orbit were Washington Color School notables such as Leon Berkowitz, Cynthia Bickley-Green, Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, Mimi Herbert, Dan Yellow Kuhne, Howard Mehring, Paul Reed, and Kenneth Young. While most showed in group shows, a select few, including Berkowitz, Davis, Mehring, Reed, and Young, had their own solo exhibitions.
Cynthia Bickley-Green and Mimi Herbert are featured in Ninth Street and Beyond: 70 Years of Women in Abstraction at Hunter Dunbar, New York. This exhibition—taking place in two parts over a three-month period—presents a never-before-seen assemblage of major paintings, works on paper, and sculptures created over the last 8 decades by more than 50 groundbreaking artists.
The Columbus Museum of Columbus, GA acquires Spring Joy, c. 1968-72.
The Bruce Museum of Greenwich, CT acquires Matador (2021) by Mimi Herbert.
Primacy: The Washington Color School, an exhibition curated by Dexter Wimberly, features paintings by nine eminent Washington Color School artists: Cynthia Bickley-Green, Gene Davis, Sam Francis, Sam Gilliam, Morris Louis, Howard Mehring, Kenneth Noland, Alma Thomas, and Kenneth V. Young. The origin of the Washington Color School is linked to a 1965 exhibition titled The Washington Color Painters, organized by Gerald Norland at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington D.C. Five of the six artists in the original 1965 Washington Color Painters exhibition are included in Primacy. Bethesda Fine Art is proud to have lent works by Cynthia Bickley-Green and Kenneth V. Young to this exhibition.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum acquires Untitled (1965).
Claudia Rousseau, Ph.D. reviews #Corcoran1970s on East City Art.
The acquisition by Pérez Art Museum Miami was made with the sound and steady guidance of Stacie Khandros at Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery.
René Morales, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator at PAMM comments: "Pérez Art Museum Miami is thrilled to acquire this work by Kenneth Victor Young, thanks to the generosity of PAMM’s Collectors Council. Untitled (1970) will significantly add to the depth to our collection, where it will be in great company with Morris Louis, Sam Gilliam, Gene Davis and other artists associated with Color Field painting and the Washington Color School."
This past month, Cynthia Bickley-Green was featured on an Eastern North Carolina TV network about her recent commission for the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. In the clip, Cynthia brings the news crew into her studio to view her artwork, Lamentation, which will be featured on a billboard for the museum.
One of Cynthia Bickley-Green's most recent paintings, Lamentation, will soon be featured on a billboard for the North Carolina Museum of Art. Lamentation reflects Bickley-Green's engagement with the recent social and political happenings this year. The black square in the upper left corner marks the death of George Floyd, while the dark triangle on the lower left-center of the composition is an abstracted coronavirus. On the lower right is a globe to represent the worldwide impact of these recent events.
In addition, reflecting her success in the academic art world, Bickley-Green's painting, Predella, is on the most recent cover of National Art Education Association News.
Kenneth V. Young: 1968 – 1972 is a series of nine of the artist’s compelling colorful abstractions rendered in bright washes of acrylic, spanning from 1968-1974. His vibrant “orbs” - a motif he returned to throughout his career - are amassed, or diluted, by the varying combinations of acrylic paint, primer, and water-stained on unprimed canvases. The artist’s choice of material, scale, and technique offers an immersive experience into his imagined, abstract landscapes. Bethesda Fine Art is proud to have lent works to this exhibition.
Continuum, a solo show of work by Kenneth Victor Young curated by Dexter Wimberly, is presented by the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
Bethesda Fine Art has loaned several works by Cynthia Bickley-Green and Kenneth V. Young for the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design’s exhibition, Full Circle: Hue and Saturation in the Washington Color School, at Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, George Washington University.
Cynthia Bickley-Green's work A Cautionary Tale for Niagara Falls: Cape Town, 2018, is on view at the Niagara Falls History Museum's exhibition Water for Life.
The UMUC Arts Program at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) invites you to explore the art of internationally known artists Ed Clark (New York, New York), Richard W. Franklin (Bowie, Maryland), and the late Kenneth Young (Washington, DC). Clark, Franklin, and Young have devoted their artistic lives to creating abstract art that carries a message of awareness and intrigue through the use of math, astrology, and symbols.
Each artist has approached abstract art in a different way, but the style of each of them is structurally complex. This exhibition explores their different approaches to abstraction with the goal of unveiling the language within their work. The exhibition catalog includes an essay by art historian Virginia Adams, who earned her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Bethesda Fine Art is proud to have lent works to this exhibition.
Washington Post critic Mark Jenkins writes: "Pretty, genteel and increasingly venerable, the paintings of 20th-century DC colorists are now enjoying a commercial revival. Bethesda Fine Art, which specializes in them, offers some fine examples in 'Washington Color School: 50 Years Later.'”
Kenneth Young’s painting is a stand-out in a room full of them.
When the National Gallery of Art reopened its East Building in 2016 following a three-year renovation, the museum devoted a chunk of gallery space to the legends who worked here in the District. Names like Gene Davis. Kenneth Noland. “Relative” (1968), one of Sam Gilliam’s drape paintings, sags from four knotted corners, loose abstract canvas pinned along one gallery wall. Morris Louis’ “Beta Kappa” (1961), maybe the single best-known painting of the Washington Color School, hangs on the adjacent wall, a soggy series of poured rainbow stripes.
These are titans of Washington art—Alma Thomas, Leon Berkowitz, Anne Truitt. Among their works hangs “Red Dance” (1970), a stain painting by Young. It’s a storm of acrylic dabs on an unprimed canvas, blotches of ochre and burnt orange, a red-shifted Milky Way. The mark-making is distinct, but the mode is easy to identify. This is a Washington Color School painting, like and unlike the rest.