The lyrical abstractions of Ronnie Landfield have become icons of the modernist Color Field movement. From a young age, growing up in New York City, Landfield would visit the avant-garde galleries of the time, taking in the Abstract Expressionists’ work such as Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Willem de Kooning. Landfield studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the San Francisco Art Institute, and The Art Students League in New York. In a reaction to the all-over, process-oriented abstraction of the mid-century Landfield painted his abstractions from nature, incorporating the horizon as he used random effects of pouring and staining.
In 1967, at the age of 20, The Whitney Museum of American Art invited Landfield to exhibit and later included his work in their biennials of 1969 and 1973. In 1969, Landfield began showing with David Whitney Gallery in Soho. In the same year, architect Philip Johnson donated his important canvas “Diamond Lake” to the Museum of Modern Art.
Ronnie Landfield has garnered much critical acclaim since he began his artistic career. In 2020, Art Forum’s Ara Osterweil said, “Although nearly all of his images invoke the metaphysical, his approach nonetheless extends the vital dialogue between landscape and abstraction explored by mid-century pioneers such as Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell.” In the same year, Dana Gordon wrote, “Ronnie Landfield, one of the greatest living painters, comes out of the Color Field milieu of New York in the 1960s and maintains its fervent artistic purity…[His work is] free from preconceived ideas of what and how to paint, he finds beauty in color and form, with love and generosity. Upholding the autonomous and emotive powers of painting, Landfield offers an experience both deep and uplifting.”
Today, Landfield’s work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other important public institutions.