Bowden was a founding member of the American Abstracts Artists Group in New York in 1936, where he worked with Fernand Leger, George McNeil, Willem de Kooning, and Hans Hoffman. His work was referred to as “Cezannesque” by Ad Reinhardt, and appreciated by Still and Rothko among others. “Sausalito” is among his works from this much appreciated period.
In 1933 he returned to New York to continue studying at Hofmann’s new school and to work as his assistant. While in New York, he worked with some of the leading modernists and was a co-founder of the American Abstract Artists. In 1942 he returned to northern California and settled in Sausalito.
In an exhibition brochure for a show at the New School for Social Research in 1940, Bowden expressed the sentiment that led him into joining the American Abstract Artists and illustrates his method:
“An artist, who only portrays a geometric arrangement of colored forms he has in mind, contributes nothing more than the artist who tries to copy nature. They show us the possibilities of a painting, but do not fulfill the promise…. A painting embraces many ideas, symbols, forms, tones, and colors, but all are resolved into a new thing. The metamorphosis make the painting real—gives it a life of its own.”
1931 Paul Elder Gallery, SF
1932 American Abstract Artists, NYC
1945, 50 De Young Museum
1948 Gumps, SF
1948 East West Gallery, SF