Al Held
American, 1928-2005
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Anderson Collection at Stanford University
Selected exhibitions
Al Held: Paris to New York 1952–1959,
Cheim & Read
Cheim & Read
Alphabet Paintings,
Cheim & Read

After studying in New York and Paris, Al Held began his painting career by exhibiting Abstract Expressionist works in New York; he later turned to hard-edged geometric paintings that were dubbed “concrete abstractions”. In the late 1960s Held began to challenge the flatness he perceived in even the most modernist painting styles, breaking up the picture plane with suggestions of deep space and three-dimensional form; he would later reintroduce eye-popping colors into his canvases. In vast compositions, Held painted geometric forms in space, constituting what have been described as reinterpretations of Cubism. “We’re not going to get rid of chaos and complexity,” Held said, “but we can find a way to live with them.” Despite the clean precision of his forms, Held would begin his paintings with loose improvisation, then erase his re-workings with an electric sander.

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