THE SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
The San Francisco Art Institute was home to a group of abstract artists who rivaled the New York school for innovation, authenticity, and rebelliousness. The SF school as it has come to be known flourished in San Francisco’s “live and let live” atmosphere. Surrounded by the bay area landscape, they imbued abstract expressionist painting with a deep sense of nature and produced art forms seen nowhere before and nowhere since. The paintings we show are carefully selected examples that document the spirited uniqueness of this group.
In the post-war years, the SF Art Institute played a major role in developing San Francisco’s international reputation as a tolerant and innovative environment for art, music, and political expression. The school was particularly influential in nurturing an open-minded atmosphere and as a result many of these rebellious and creative artists mixed with the poets, writers, “The Beats”, and jazz musicians, to help bring new ideas of freedom and creativity to the San Francisco Scene.
Unlike other art schools in the country, the studios and classrooms in SF became full of ex-soldiers who had disembarked on the West Coast with money from the GI Bill for their tuition.
The faculty, with locals Hassel Smith, Richard Diebenkorn, and David Park, was quickly joined by artists such as Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, and Ansel Adams, to enhance the programs.