DAVID PARK (1911-1960)
DAVID PARK (1911-1960)
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The Artistic Journey - A Distinguished West Coast Collection
DAVID PARK (1911-1960)

Two People in White

DAVID PARK (1911-1960)
Two People in White
signed and dated 'Park 57' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24 x 32 in. (60.9 x 81.3 cm.)
Painted in 1957.
Staempfli Gallery Inc., New York
Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco, 1970
Private collection, California, 1975
Anon. sale; Butterfields, San Francisco, 4 April 1990, lot 715
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1993
Washington, The Obelisk Gallery, David Park, April-May 1962, n.p., no. 3.
New York, The American Federation of Arts, The Figure-International, September 1965-September 1966, n.p., no. 26.
Iowa, Grinnell College, Scheaffer Gallery, Fine Arts Center, Contemporary Paintings and Drawings from New York Galleries and Grinnell College Collection, October 1967, n.p.
San Francisco, Maxwell Galleries, David Park: A Retrospective, August-September 1970, n.p., no.17.
Beverly Hills, Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, David Park Paintings & Works on Paper, 1950-1960, November-December 1990.
San Francisco, John Berggruen Gallery, David Park: Paintings and Works on Paper, January–February 1992.

Brought to you by

Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of 21st Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

"As you grow older, it dawns on you that you are yourself – that your job is not to force yourself into a style, but to do what you want. I saw that if I would accept subjects, I could paint with more abstraction, with a certain enthusiasm for the subject which would allow some of the aesthetic qualities such as color and composition to evolve more naturally. With subjects, the difference is that I feel a natural development of the painting rather than a formal, self-conscious one." - David Park
In the mid-1950s there was a shift in the way David Park painted. He began a movement with other Bay Area artists that would come to be known as the Bay Area Figurative Movement. This movement and these bodies of work began to embrace a more representational approach to painting and specifically painting the figure. He became much more focused on his style rather than the subjects he painted, interested in “not so much their actual appearance from a reportorial standpoint – but their aura” (H. Geldzahler, David Park, New York, 1985). Park was successful in creating such a sensation, as he painted with a sense of freedom and ease that made his work extremely captivating. It is clear that during this time with the development of this new movement, Park felt much more comfortable with himself and the way he was able to manipulate paint.
Two Figures in White is a prime example of David Park’s style during the Bay Area Figurative movement. The painting depicts a man and woman in a moment of contemplation, shoulder-to-shoulder. The figures are rendered in loose, flowing brushstrokes, which give the painting a sense of movement and vitality, while also showcasing Park’s expertise with oil paint. The white clothing provides a visual anchor for the painting, and their placement as well as the close-up composition creates a strong sense of intimacy and connection.
One of the most striking features of Two Figures in White is its use of color. Park’s loose brushwork creates a sense of light and shadow that is enhanced by the bold color choices he makes. The figures are surrounded by a sea of green and deep blues, which suggests the lush foliage of a park, and the white of their clothing provides a strong contrast against the background. The overall effect is one of harmony and balance, as if the figures and the environment around them are in perfect alignment.
David Park created an extremely distinct body of work, all in which a viewer can “find a consistent level of abstraction. Dark cavities read as eyes, single strokes of the brush describe an ear, a chin, a nose, a mouth – often investing each with its own color” (ibid). Park created a specific language within painting, that was rare among other artists of the time, but continued to have a great influence.

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