David Park (1911-1960)
Property From the Collection of Robert Weston
David Park (1911-1960)

Boy in Striped Shirt

David Park (1911-1960)
Boy in Striped Shirt
signed and dated 'Park 59' (upper left); titled 'BOY IN STRIPED SHIRT' (on the overlap)
oil on canvas
50 x 36 in. (127 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 1959.
Staempfli Gallery, Inc., New York
William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City
B.C. Holland Gallery, Chicago
De Ville Gallery, Los Angeles
Robert Weston, Los Angeles, acquired from the above
Charlene VanWechel, Mesa, AZ, by descent from the above
By descent from the above to the present owner, Vancouver, WA
New York, The American Federation of the Arts, The Figure in Contemporary American Painting, November 1960-November 1961, no. 30.

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Jennifer Yum
Jennifer Yum

Lot Essay

Robert Weston developed a love of art at an early age. While attending high school Robert was active in drama and assisted with set design, this developed a passion for the arts that further advanced through his architecture and design studies at Arizona State University. Upon graduation Robert left Arizona for culturally rich Los Angeles and became the assistant art director for the Andy Williams Show and the Dean Martin Show. In time Robert moved on from NBC to become a partner in a very successful LA design company until his death in 1989. Robert lived a very dignified and thoughtful life and made choices that kept him surrounded by art and others who were like minded in that love and obsession. The two paintings by David Park on offer from his collection make it apparent that Robert was a visionary collector and true connoisseur.
David Park was the first of the post-war generation of artists to break with the hegemony of Abstract Expressionism and return to painting recognizable subjects, most powerfully exploring the human figure. Through his friendships with other artists who shared his dedication to representing the everyday such as Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, and Elmer Bischoff, they formed a group which came to be known as the Bay Area Figurative School. Trying to escape from the rigid confines of the Abstract Expressionist doctrine, Park rejected abstraction and instead devoted his career to the pursuit of the image of subjects right in front of him, or themes of personal significance. What transpires from this dedication is an impressive focus on the painterly surface of his canvases, one can also see how the painting is built up in patient strokes of deep pure color, each one based on quiet deliberation and control.

Park's works embody a certain quietness, where the stillness of the figure would convey a moment of repose or sense of internal musing. While the brushwork is full of bravado and conviction, there is a tension of a figure caught in a moment of ambivalence. The present work, Boy in a Striped Shirt, possesses this tension between subject and execution of the work. There is also a sense of timelessness communicated by the indeterminate background and the classical pose of the sitter. In this tension between the traditional subject of a portrait and the bravado brushwork, therein lies the challenge of presenting figuration in a fresh way, which would propel the movement as a legitimate force in post-War Art.

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