David Park: A Retrospective

December 21, 2019 - March 15, 2020

We are proud to be the only venue in the Midwest to host David Park: A Retrospective, the first major exhibition in more than 30 years to present the work of the influential American artist. Organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the show presents nearly 100 paintings and drawings that span the artist’s career from the 1930s to his death in 1960.

Called “one of the most art-historically underrated artists of the mid-20th century” by The Wall Street Journal, David Park is best known for his seminal role in the Bay Area Figurative Movement, which came about after the Second World War, when artists including Park, Richard Diebenkorn, and Elmer Bischoff rejected modern abstract art, and reintroduced figurative subjects into their work.

Curated by Janet Bishop, Thomas Weisel Family Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, the exhibition illuminates the evolution of Park’s colorful and energetic painting style – lush, paint-laden brushstrokes exploring everyday subject matter in portraits, landscapes, and interiors.

Raised in Boston and diagnosed in childhood with profound vision loss, Park moved from Boston to Los Angeles in 1928. Having just a year of formal art education, he was encouraged by famed modernist Henri Matisse at a lunch where he advised the assembled painters to “talk less, paint more.”

The core of the exhibition will be paintings from the 1950s, when Park reached his most dramatic and dynamic peak. Our own collection work from that time, Woman with Coffee Pot (1958), welcomed visitors as the exhibition’s first painting at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in June. David Park: A Retrospective will include a series of gouaches and paper-based works made when the artist was too ill to create larger-scale work.

With gratitude to our exhibition sponsors: Stan and Connie Rajnak and Diane Robertson

 David Park, Rehearsal, ca. 1949