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Mehring / Wellspring: The Early Color Field Paintings of Howard Mehring January – March, 2017

Howard Mehring, Amarillo (detail).

Howard Mehring, Amarillo (Detail), 1958. Acrylic on canvas.
Courtesy of Kent Karlock.

Exhibition Overview

Howard Mehring, a native Washingtonian, became a leading figure in the loosely defined Washington Color School movement, a form of Abstraction particular to DC. Mehring / Wellspring: The Early Color Field Paintings of Howard Mehring is a survey sample of his 'Color Field' paintings created between 1957 and 1963. In the mid-1960s, Mehring changed his abstract style to one of geometric patterns using bolder colors under the influence of critic Clement Greenberg, before his premature death at 47.

Art historian E. A. Carmean Jr., wrote the catalogue essay for Mehring / Wellspring. During his tenure as curator of 20th century art at the National Gallery of Art, he organized the exhibition of the Color Field paintings of Morris Louis. Carmean Jr. was also the curator of two retrospectives of New York Color Field artists, one of the pioneer Helen Frankenthaler for the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a second, of Jules Olitski, shown at the American University Museum in 2012. The author of over 200 essays, books and catalogues, published in seven languages, a selection of his writings and sermons is currently in preparation.

See also: Washington Post review, Enter a Universe of Dappled Color in Howard Mehring Show at AU Museum.