Carl Alexander


Carl Alexander, a native Washingtonian, is an abstract color field painter and the last unknown Washington Color School artist. Alexander, born in 1930, claimed to be born in 1929 so that he could enter the military. He was in the Korean War from 1951 until December 1952 and then attended Howard University in the mid-1950’s and graduated c. 1956. As a student, Alexander was exposed to the early stages of the Washington Color School because Morris Louis was appointed an instructor there. Lois Mailou Jones taught design and watercolors and James Porter taught oil paintings as well. Through his connection with Louis, Alexander met and socialized with other notable Color School painters, such as Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Thomas Downing, Alma Thomas, and James Hilleary. So influenced, Alexander’s paintings, especially his treatment of color, have a certain resemblance to Louis’ notable veil paintings. Alexanders use of circle motifs also demonstrate his friendships with Downing and Mehring. After graduating Howard, Alexander worked at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and managed exhibits until he retired. Carl Alexander’s color field paintings were largely unknown until his solo exhibition at Zenith Gallery.