(1911 – 1960)
David Park is responsible for helping develop one of the most vital and inventive shifts in American postwar art. His reassertion, in the 1950s, of the primacy of the figure within abstraction initiated a return to figuration that continues to impact American painting today. Born in Boston in 1911, Park moved to California to attend the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. By 1943, he had moved to San Francisco and began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). In 1949, at the age of 39, he destroyed all of his abstract, nonobjective paintings from the forties and began work on what are now called his ‘New Figurative’ paintings. Park's abandonment of pure abstraction was fostered by a dissatisfaction with what he perceived to be the egocentric excesses of Abstract Expressionist artists. Thus, he introduced the style that would later be known as Bay Area Figurative Painting.
David Park's paintings are included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Oakland Museum of California, among many others. Hackett Mill is the exclusive representative of the artist's estate.