A long lost painting comes home
February 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
By JONATHAN CURIEL
The 10 million people who read the June 8, 1962, issue of Life magazine saw an America that was undergoing profound cultural shifts. More people than ever were worried about weight gain (Kellogg’s advertised a cereal “for common sense weight control”). More people than ever were flying abroad (“Americans in a new age of world travel,” read one article teaser). And more people than ever were considering the art world’s “current resurgence of the figure in painting,” as the magazine labeled the trend.
Life devoted eight full pages to the art-world development, paying close attention to the work of Bay Area painters Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner, Richard Diebenkorn and David Park, whose featured painting in Life, “Woman with Coffeepot,” offered an unforgettable image: A woman both beautiful and monstrous, whose body was a pastiche of thick, colorful paint strokes that were like bandages on a burn victim. Park, who painted “Woman with Coffeepot” in 1958, was straddling the line between abstraction and representation. The people in Park’s paintings from this period seemed half-finished and even primitive, as if they were a race of human sculptures trying to find form.