Washington D.C., a city known for politics and traditional classical architecture, became a hub of artistic innovation in the 1960s. This was due to a group of abstract artists known as the Washington Color Painters who were experimenting with painting techniques such as staining and pouring onto canvas. These deceptively simple compositions often left no visible traces of conventional paint application, such as brushstrokes.
Paul Reed (1919-2015), a native of D.C. and one of the original six Washington Color Painters, earned national notoriety for his complex series of colorful stained and shaped-canvas paintings. In 1972, Reed began working from a smaller home studio, leading him to create more intimately scaled works on paper such as prints, photographic collages, and oil pastels. A true poet of color and form, Reed’s dedication to artistic exploration spanned a career of more than sixty years, during which he created a prolific body of work distinguished for its quality and originality.
In 2017 and 2018, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art was gifted 125 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by the Paul and Esther Reed Trust, establishing the Museum as the definitive home of Paul Reed’s work.