Jay DeFeo

A Retrospective

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, Untitled, 1973; gelatin silver print and mixed media; Collection SFMOMA, purchase through a gift of Robin Wright and the Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Barbara and Gerson Bakar, Shawn and Brook Byers, Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Pamela and Richard Kramlich, Mary and Howard Lester, and Nancy and Steven Oliver; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Don Ross

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, The Rose, 1958-66; oil with wood and mica on canvas; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The Jay DeFeo Trust, Berkeley, CA, and purchase with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee and the Judith Rothschild Foundation; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Ben Blackwell

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, The Eyes, 1958; graphite on paper; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the Lannan Foundation; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Bill Orcutt

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, After Image, 1970, graphite, gouache, and transparent synthetic polymer on paper with cut-and-torn tracing paper; The Menil Collection, Houston; gift of Glenn Fukushima; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: by Paul Hester

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, Rear Window, 1982; mixed media on paper; Private collection; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Ben Blackwell

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, The Jewel, 1959; oil on canvas; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; gift of the 1998 Collectors Committee; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Ben Blackwell

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo, The Verónica, 1957; oil on canvas; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Irving Blum; © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Ben Blackwell

November 03, 2012 - February 03, 2013

This retrospective offers a revelatory, in-depth encounter with the work of Jay DeFeo (1929-1989), one of the most important and innovative artists of her generation, but one who until now has not been given her due. A quintessential San Francisco artist who rose to national prominence, DeFeo was at the center of a vibrant community of Bay Area artists, poets, and musicians in the 1950s. Although she is best known for her massive, visionary masterpiece The Rose (1958-66), DeFeo created an astoundingly diverse range of works; her unconventional approach to materials and her intensive, physical process make her a unique figure in postwar American art. Presenting close to 130 works, including collages, drawings, paintings, photographs, small sculptures, and jewelry, this definitive exhibition traces DeFeo's distinctive vision across more than four decades of art making.


Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Major support for this exhibition is provided by the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Louisa Stude Sarofim, Susan Weeks and David Coulter, Francis H. Williams, M. Bernadette Castor and David R. Packard, the Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation, Sarah Peter, and the Elizabeth A. Sackler Museum Educational Trust.

The San Francisco presentation of this exhibition is made possible by leadership support from the Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Traveling Exhibitions.