Al Held

About Artist: Al Held (October 12, 1928 – July 27, 2005) was an American Abstract expressionist painter. He was particularly well known for his large scale Hard-edge paintings. As an artist, multiple stylistic changes occurred throughout his career, however, none of these occurred at the same time as any popular emerging style or acted against a particular art form. In the 1950s his style reflected the abstract expressionist tone and then transitioned to a geometric style in the 60s. During the 1980s there was a shift into acrylic painting that emphasized bright geometric space that’s deepness reflected infinity. From 1962 to 1980 he was a professor of art at Yale University. Many of Held’s modern artwork includes large symmetric non-objective structures with vivid colors. Using an acrylic medium, he created interlocking scaffolds that overlap with a deep consideration of architecture. The ancient buildings of Rome and the idea of the renaissance inspired Held as he returned to New York. Describing Held’s images as "room" or "walls" makes sense, however, the art is non-objective and those may not be the best words to use. On one hand the work has architectural qualities but at the same time the planes of color are nonrepresentational and in a way cannot be grasped. In 1983, his 15’ by 55’ mural Mantegna’s Edge was completed in Dallas, Texas. The work is less fragmented and a deeper sense of order compared to some of his other works. Bright colored, grid-like structure exists harmonically in an infinite blue space. Yet, existing within it also is a sense of paradox and complexity.

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