acrylic on canvas
United States
Overall: 93 1/2 × 80 1/2 in. (237.49 × 204.47 cm)
Not on view

“We were making abstract art, but we wanted to simplify the selection of materials, and to use them in a very economical way. To get to raw canvas, to use the canvas unstretched—to use it in more basic or fundamental ways, to use it as a fabric rather than as a stretched surface.” —Kenneth Noland

In 1953 Noland and Morris Louis traveled from Washington, D.C., to New York to visit Helen Frankenthaler in her studio. Inspired by Frankenthaler’s staining technique that emphasized pure color instead of gesture, Noland, and Louis too, began to work on unprimed canvas, allowing the paint to stain and become part of the fabric.

Noland worked with specific forms: targets, stripes and, as in 17th Stage, chevrons or V-shaped patterns. These reduced shapes allowed Noland to explore varied relationships between the painted form and the canvas’s edge. In 17th Stage, the outer edges of the chevrons line up with the top two corners of the canvas. Toward the bottom, the chevrons shift off axis and land left of center, rejecting symmetry for a more dynamic design.

Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis
The Common Wealth, Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts, December 1, 1990 – February 3, 1991

Contemporary Art from the VMFA, Muscarelle Museum, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, September 30 – November 15, 1987

Kenneth Noland: A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, April 15 – June 19, 1977; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September 29 – November 27, 1977; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, March 23 – May 7, 1977 
Carter Burden, New York; (Anita Friedman Fine Arts Ltd., New York) by 1982; Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney and Frances Lewis, Virginia in May of 1982; Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in December of 1985.
©artist or artist’s estate

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.