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Walter Darby Bannard, Marriage #3, 1961, alkyd resin on canvas, 66 3/4 × 62 3/4".

Walter Darby Bannard

Berry Campbell

Walter Darby Bannard, Marriage #3, 1961, alkyd resin on canvas, 66 3/4 × 62 3/4".

Walter Darby Bannard made a big splash with the abstractions he painted following his graduation from Princeton University in 1956. In the mid-1960s, his work, which featured, in Bannard’s own words, “plain, simple, symmetrical in-your-face color,” was included in historically important group exhibitions such as “Post-Painterly Abstraction” (1964), and “The Responsive Eye” (1965), organized, respectively, by critic Clement Greenberg and curator William C. Seitz.

A dozen or so canvases from 1958 to 1965 that were on view recently at Berry Campbell made it clear why Bannard, who is now eighty, was selected for these shows. Even back in the day, the emergent artist’s Minimalist compositions must have seemed timeless. These are, to be sure, smart paintings. And while it’s tempting to raise the specter of formalism today, it’s perhaps more apt to suggest that the nearly five-foot-square

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