At the age of thirty-eight, David Park (1911–1960) abandoned a carload of his abstract expressionist canvases at the city dump and started painting “pictures” — a radical decision that led to the development of Bay Area Figurative Art. Organized by SFMOMA, this exhibition comprises 127 paintings and works on paper. It is the first major museum exhibition of Park’s work in three decades and the first to examine the full arc of his career, from his tightly controlled paintings from the 1930s to his final works on paper from 1960. The heart of the show is a rich selection of the 1950s Bay Area Figurative canvases for which he is best known — boldly executed compositions featuring musicians, domestic and vernacular scenes, portraits, boaters, and bathers. The works reveal an artist deeply connected to human experience and at the peak of his powers, reveling in the expressive and sensuous qualities of pure paint.
Major support for David Park: A Retrospective is provided by Doris Fisher, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick in honor of Neal Benezra, Janet and Clint Reilly, and anonymous donors.
Generous support is provided by Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Mary J. Elmore, Christine and Pierre Lamond, the Stuart G. Moldaw Public Program and Exhibition Fund, Susan and Bill Oberndorf, the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund, the Thomas Weisel Family, Pat Wilson, and Anita and Ronald Wornick.
Meaningful support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
Additional support is provided by Robert and Daphne Bransten, Susan A. Engs, Laurie and Jim Ghielmetti, and Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Ayer.
Header image: David Park, Couple, 1959; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Partial gift of the Morgan Flagg Family Foundation; © Estate of David Park; courtesy Natalie Park Schutz, Helen Park Bigelow, and Hackett Mill, San Francisco