The 1953 meeting of artists Morris Louis (1912-1962) and Kenneth Noland (1924-2010) set off a new movement known as the Washington Color School. They expanded on Abstract Expressionism with a heavy focus on the role of color and its application. Clement Greenberg promoted it in his landmark exhibit Post-Painterly Abstraction in 1964. The Washington Color School reached international fame.
Carl A. Alexander (b. 1930) a native Washingtonian, attended Howard University in the mid-1950’s when Morris Louis was appointed an instructor there. Alexander was exposed to the early stages of the Washington Color School. Through his connection with Louis, he met and socialized with other notable Color School painters, such as: Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Thomas Downing, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Jim Hillary. So influenced, Alexander’s paintings, especially the treatment of color, have a certain resemblance to Louis’ notable Veil paintings. His friendships with Downing and Mehring are also evident by his use of the circle. After graduating Howard, Alexander worked at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History until he retired.