Jay DeFeo

From her studio on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, she created large-size abstract oil paintings whose surfaces are loaded with piled, grooved, colorful paint. She attracted much attention as a West Coast avant-garde artist, and the three-story building where she and her artist husband, Wally Hedrick, lived and worked was in the 1950s and 60s the unofficial headquarters of what-was-then, the San Francisco art world..”

In 1953, DeFeo became a pivotal figure in the historic San Francisco community of artists, poets, and jazz musicians at the time. The art she began making in the mid-1950s incorporated the dualities of representation and abstraction, organic rhythms and geometric form, refinement and expressionism. DeFeo worked with unorthodox materials to explore the broadest definitions of sculpture, drawing, collage, and painting.

In 1959 DeFeo’s first major solo exhibition was held at the Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco, the same year that DeFeo’s art, along with that of Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, and others, was included in Dorothy Miller’s momentous exhibition Sixteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Walter Hopps and Irving Blum at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles mounted her next solo exhibition in 1960.

In 1958 DeFeo began work on “an idea that had a center to it”1 and almost eight years later, in 1966, completed The Rose, a monumental work created with so much oil paint that she called it “a marriage between painting and sculpture.”2 To concentrate completely on The Rose, DeFeo essentially withdrew from the art world for much of the 1960s, turning down offers of new gallery affiliations and solo exhibitions. The Rose was first exhibited in 1969 at the Pasadena Art Museum.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1953 Jay DeFeo, Freeland Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1954 Jay DeFeo, The Place, San Francisco, CA
Jay DeFeo, Paintings/Jewelry, Dover Gallery, Berkeley, CA 1959 J. DeFeo: Drawings, Collages, Paintings, Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1960 Jay DeFeo, Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1969 The Rose: J. DeFeo, Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions

1950, ’51, ’55, ’60, ‘68 San Francisco Museum of Art
1953 Richmond Art Center
1955 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
1956 Oakland Art Museum
1957, ’58, ’60, ‘63 Ferrus Gallery, Los Angeles
1959 Museum of Modern Art, New York
1950 Dixon Art Center, UCLA
1960 Batman Gallery, San Francisco
1960, ‘61 Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco
1962 New Mission Gallery, San Francisco
1966 Pasadena Art Museum
1968 Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Cellini Gallery, San Francisco

Selected Collections

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The Oakland Museum of California
Berkeley Art Museum
Stanford University, Anderson Collection
San Jose Museum of Art
Norton Simon Museum of Art
J.Paul Getty Museum
Laguna Art Museum
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Mills College Art Museum
The Museum of Modern Art, NY
The Whitney Museum of American Art


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