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  • jessica moritz

hard edge art, colorfield painting art movements and legacy.

Let's start by giving short description of both to give a brief and but clear preview.


Hard edge painting ⎮#hardedgepainting


Hard edge art is defined by geometric composition, sudden juxtaposition of colors. different surface of colors representing abstract geometric landscape, or for some random geometric shapes.

Hard edge painting started in the late 50's by Artists(major figures):

  • Karl Benjamin

  • Lorser Feitelson

  • Frederick Hammersley

  • June Harwood

  • Helen Lundeberg

  • John McLaughlin




But remember the Art is also how the viewer and audience perceive it.

so the Term Hard edge was first called by Jules Langsner ( Los angeles Times, writer,Art critic, curator).

Hard edge emerging from California, USA, circa 1959.

The Art world needs a "third eye" to identify art movement, and give guidance to the Audience.

Hard edge movement was born in a post modern era, post war, civil rights movement, and of course the Boomers.

It's always interesting to juxtapose social and political context to any Art movement, it really can help reading the situation and Artist'statements.


In the same period what other Painting movement were starting or beating strong?

Abstract expressionism, New york

Colorfield Painting (Mark Rothko, Barnet Newmann, and Helen Frankenthaler)

Action Painting (Pollock, de Kooning)

Early Pop Art (Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton)


If you look at the "big picture" you can call it a post war Reaction, healing, and blurring.

Each Artist has his own reaction to their daily life and education background.

the Fifties in US were seeing the beginning of consumerism, the change in Economy, also reaction to communism, beginning of civil right movements, so many fire to manage, right?


Colorfield Art #colorfieldpainting


Colorfield movement emerged from abstract expressionism before hard edge in the 40's in USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, definitely a more International movement.

you can identify colorfield painting by Large fields of colors (solid, splashed, inked, soaked, spray, many techniques.


Colorfield painting by Artists(major figures):







It is easy to be confused between hard edge art, geometric abstraction, optical art, and colorfield painting.


so the question is how do you or can you make a difference?


both involve colors, obviously but each of them are using techniques and therefore decisions that makes a lot of difference.

Hard edge painting can be figurative and not figurative.

Usually hard edge is different solid colors using geometry, architecture, and light. Some hard edge artists use color theory, and some are more "random" and display colors according to what they feel is right or available in the studio.

Colorfield artist is definitely a more expressive gesture, close to gestural abstraction, covering canvas, a more physical relation with painting, definitely more related to their inner feelings and Action.

Hard edge is geometric, limited surfaces of colors more reductive in the textures and surfaces, exploring boundaries and minimal representation of painting.

Where you can see the difference with colorfield, abstract expressionism who is rooted to colors and raw with application. if you want to look deeper in this directions, look for artist studio of each artist, and you'll see that each of them is living their painting fully.

It was pretty common to see Pollock throwing bucket, or dripping industrial painting and having some kind of choreography part of his process;

it was also very common to have library of colors for Stella, and notebooks about composition or drawing.


well, I hope it helps you understand the different use of colors and art movements that keep on inspiring me.

I'll be happy to have your own vision or feedback, leave a comment or write me at moritz.jessica@gmail.com


To finish, as we are living a very strange period, I was really interested to see what other artists where doing during pandemic, and see new or discover artists that keep on painting and i can't wait to see what the art world will be when this will be over.

Be safe, and stay colorful.


#hardedge #colorfield #artexplained #modernart #abstractexpressionism #postwarart #geometricabstraction #hardedgepainting #colorfieldpainting #artmovement #artblog