Al Held
American, born 1928, Brooklyn, New York; died 2005, Todi, Italy
Stacks Image 4867
Skywatch I, 1972
Acrylic on canvas
60 in. x 60 in. (152.4 cm x 152.4 cm)
Purchased with funds from the L. L. Bottsford Estate Fund
1973.14
Al Held achieved fame for large-scale, hard-edged abstract paintings that create illusions of space.  The artist studied at the Art Students League in New York, and in Paris on the GI Bill following World War II.  Upon returning to New York, Held admired the dynamism of Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist canvases and Piet Mondrian’s structured compositions.  Skywatch I dates from a time when Held first introduced dimensionality into his abstract paintings.  From the late 1960s, the artist limited his palette to black and white and featured heavily outlined geometric shapes to endow his work with greater complexity and illusionistic depth than before. Held also used acrylic paint and tape to create precise forms and reduce the presence of the artist’s hand in his painting.  In Skywatch I, the tondo, or circular format, activates the cylindrical forms and compresses the space, enhancing the illusion that the forms advance or recede.  A companion painting, Skywatch II, also a tondo, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Skywatch I was purchased by the Akron Art Museum the year after it was made and has been published in major monographs on Al Held by Richard Armstrong and by Irving Sandler.
A related work at the Akron Art Museum
Sol LeWitt
American, born 1928, Hartford, Connecticut; died 2007, New York City
Stacks Image 5522
Wall Drawing #1240
Planes with broken bands of color (Akron), 2005

Acrylic on drywall
219 x 409 in.
Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the artist. Fabrication funded by a gift from the Gregory Hackett Family Foundation  2005.20
A related work at the Akron Art Museum
Larry Zox
American, born 1937, Des Moines, Iowa; died 2006, Colchester, Connecticut
Stacks Image 7246
Untitled from the Scissors Jack Series, 1965-1966
Acrylic and graphite on canvas
78 x 132 in.
Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leonard Kornblee  1974.9