Al Held was born in Brooklyn in 1928. After being expelled from high school he enlisted in the United States Navy and, following three years of service, left to study at the Art Students League in New York. Although primarily a painter, Held turned to working on paper at various points in his career and experimented with both drawing and printmaking to clarify and inform his work in paint.

In 1998 and 1999 he worked at Tyler Graphics on the Prime moments series, which takes as its basis geometric elements such as triangles, squares and circles placed within a grid–like structure. The lithographs recall his early explorations in geometric abstraction, where tension is created through the use of illusionistic space.
Emilie Owens

Chronology
 

1928
Born New York, New York, United States

1945–47
Serves in the US Navy

1948
Using GI Bill, attends Art Students League of New York; studies under Kimon Nicholaides and Robert Beverly Hale

1949–53
Studies at Acad�mie de la Grande Chaumi�re, Paris, France, under Ossip Zadkine

1952
First solo exhibition, at Galerie Huit, Paris

1953
Moves to New York, works as carpenter

1956–58
Co-founder of Brata Gallery, New York

1959
Solo exhibition at Poindexter Gallery, New York

1961
Included in exhibition, American Abstract Expressionists and imagists, at Solomon R Guggenehim Museum, New York

1962
Included in exhibitions: Geometric abstraction in America, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Biennial exhibition, at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; appointed Associate Professor of Art at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; serves in this position until 1980

1963
Included in exhibitions: Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Toward a new abstraction, at the Jewish Museum, New York

1964
Receives Logan Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; included in travelling exhibition, Post painterly abstraction, originating at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1965
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1966
Solo exhibition at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; included in exhibition, Systemic paintings, at Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; included in travelling exhibition, Two decades of American painting, organised by International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; travels to Japan; India; Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia; receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1968–69
Travelling solo exhibition, originating at San Francisco Museum of Art, California

1972
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1973
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1974
Solo exhibition, Al Held, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1977
Included in exhibition, Documenta 6, Kassel, West Germany; completes mural Order/disorder/ascension/descension at Mid-Atlantic Program Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1978
Solo exhibition, Al Held: paintings and drawings 1973–1978, at Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

1981
Artist in residence, American Academy in Rome, Italy; included in exhibition, Biennial exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1983
Included in exhibition, The American artist as printmaker, at Brooklyn Museum, New York; receives Poses Creative Arts Award, Brandeis University, Wooster, Massachusetts; completes mural, Mantegna. s edge, at Southland Center, Dallas, Texas; included in travelling exhibition, Concepts in construction: 1910–1980, originating at Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

1985
Completes mural, Roberta. s house, at Government Building, Akron, Ohio

1985–86
Included in exhibition, Contrasts of form: geometric abstract art 1910–1985, at Museum of Modern Art, New York

1988
Included in travelling exhibition, Sightings, organised by Instituto de Estudios Norteamericanos, Barcelona, Spain; restores farmhouse as residence and studio in Todi, Umbria, Italy

1989
Completes murals, The third circle: Pan north XII; Vorces VII, at World Trade Center, New York

1991
Completes murals, Harry, if I told you, would you now? I-III, New York

1992
Included in exhibition, Not for sale: loans from the private collection of New York art dealers, at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; solo exhibition at Ulrich Museum of Art, Witchita State University, Kansas

1996
Included in exhibition, Thinking print: books to billboards 1980–1995, at Museum of Modern Art, New York

1996–97
Included in exhibition, Abstract Expressionism in the United States, at Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City

1999
Completes editions of Prime moments I-V at Tyler Graphics Ltd, Mount Kisco, New York

2005
Al Held died in Todi, Umbria, Italy

Barbara Delano � Tyler Graphics Ltd; revised Kate Buckingham, 2006
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated August 2014