- Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975Our PickBy Karen Wilkin, Carl Belz
- Colourfield Painting: Minimal, Cool, Hard Edge, Serial and Post-Painterly Abstract Art of the Sixties to the PresentBy Stuart Morris
- The Shape of Color: Excursions in Color Field Art, 1950-2005By Christian Eckart, Mark Cheetham, Sarah Rich, Raphael Rubinstein, Robert Hobbs, David Moos, Polly Apfelbaum, Mary Heilmann, Peter Halley, Matthew Teitelbaum
- Abstract ExpressionismBy Barbara Hess / Introduction to Color Field Painting within the Context of Abstract Expressionism
- Abstract ExpressionismBy Katy Siegel, Lillian Davies, Pauline Pobocha / Comprehensive Overview of the Abstract Expressionist Movement
- Art and CultureBy Clement Greenberg / Includes Clement Greenberg's Major Theoretical Essays, Including 'American-Type Painting' on the Color Field Artists
Important Art and Artists of Color Field Painting
There used to be some disagreement over which artist had first arrived at the style of Color Field abstraction. Most now believe that it was Clyfford Still who first did so - and at some remove from those in New York, such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, who were also finding their way to the approach in the late 1940s. In this examplary work Still applied thick portions of color with a palette knife to achieve an effect that evokes a violent sundering in nature. Typically, Still's canvases were covered in rich earthy colors, from edge to edge.
Although Rothko never considered himself a Color Field painter, his signature approach - balancing large portions of washed colors - matches up to critics' understanding of the style. Rothko considered color to be a mere instrument that served a greater purpose. He believed his fields of color were spiritual planes that could tap into our most basic human emotions. For Rothko, color evoked emotion. Therefore each of Rothko's works was intended to evoke different meanings depending on the viewer. In the time No. 2, Green, Red and Blue was made, Rothko was still using lighter tones, but as more years passed and Rothko's mental health increasingly declined, his Color Fields were constituted by somber blacks, blues, and grays.
Helen Frankenthaler played a crucial role in the evolution of Color Field Painting. Some time in or around 1952, Clement Greenberg invited Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland to pay a visit to Frankenthaler's studio in order to witness her technique of staining untreated canvas with paint. This seminal moment marked a turning point for Abstract Expressionism, and soon this new group of artists were simplifying the painting process by applying large bands (or waves, circles, lines, etc.) of uniform color to the canvas, and Color Field Painting advanced further.