Walter Darby Bannard

American, b. 1934

Driving Thru #5, c. 1968, oil on canvas, 30 x 45 1/4 inches


Walter Darby Bannard was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1934.  He attended Philips Exeter Academy and Princeton University.  At Princeton, he befriended the painter Frank Stella, and they began a working relationship that continued after graduation.   Both artists developed an extreme minimalism by 1959 and thereafter.  Bannard’s paintings from 1959-1965 exhibit bare forms, such a single band painted around a field of color.  Later on, he experimented with more complex geometric forms.  By the late 1960s, his forms dissolved into pale, atmospheric color fields applied with rollers and paint-soaked rags.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968.

In the 1970s Bannard embraced the new acrylic mediums; his work evolved into colorful expanses of richly colored gels and polymers applied with commercial floor brooms and squeegees.  He continues in this vein in the present day.

Bannard’s first solo show was at the Tibor de Nagy gallery in January, 1965 and he had exhibitions there until 1970. He began showing at the Lawrence Rubin Gallery, and then in 1974 at the Knoedler Contemporary Gallery, where he showed for the next 15 years. Currently he shows at the Loretta Howard Gallery and the Berry Campbell Gallery in New York City, the Daniel Weinberg Gallery in Los Angeles and the Center for Visual Communication in Miami, Florida.  His work is included in the collections of all the major New York museums and many others around the world.

Bannard is also a teacher and prolific writer on art, with over a hundred published essays and reviews.  He wrote the catalog first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the paintings of Hans Hofmann, at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.

Bannard is currently Professor and Head of Painting of the Department of Art at the University of Miami.