(1921 – 2013)
Frank Lobdell was a central figure at San Francisco's California School of Fine Arts in the late forties, a time when Clyfford Still reigned supreme among San Francisco Abstract Expressionists. Lobdell, one of Still's prized students, had served in the infantry in Worldss War II and found in Abstract Expressionism a means to express the effects of war on his psyche. Still's emphasis on unconscious expression helped Lobdell achieve what he believed to be the purpose of painting, to “always go beyond what can be said in words.” Lobdell's use of anthropomorphic shapes and pagan iconography all speak to a personal, archetypal symbology rooted in the of surrealist practice of Picasso, Miró and Klee.
Frank Lobdell is a recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Painting from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters. A retrospective exhibition of Lobdell's career was organized in 2003 by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and traveled to the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon. A major 406-page monograph, ‘Frank Lobdell: The Art of Making and Meaning’ accompanied the exhibition. Lobdell's works are held in many American museums including the De Young Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum; the Menil Collection, Houston; the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.