The first gallery in the recent David Park retrospective at the SFMOMA is devoted to paintings from this 1930s period. Many of the compositional and spatial characteristics of the 1950s paintings are rooted in these works, particularly Park’s engagement with and mastery of the lessons imparted by the School of Paris—Léger, Miró, and, most especially, Picasso. Here his explorations of cubist space and abstraction fuse with his personal pictorial values, specifically the role of color, the importance of the figure and finding creative inspiration in his immediate surroundings. As with his later works from the 1950s, Park found  his subject matter from what he experienced in his daily life: artists, musicians, rowers, people at leisure and mothers and children—the same motifs that intrigued him throughout his career.



David Park, detail Two Couples Dancing