Daily Art Moment: David Park

Image descriptions: The Cellist, David Park, 1959, 56 in x 56 in, oil on canvas. 1. A detail of the figure’s right hand gently grasping a bow as it plays a cello. The brushstrokes are wide, generously applied, in strokes of burnt sienna, sage, black, navy, white, and yellow. 2. An overall shot of a square oil painting of an abstracted seated figure playing a cello, rendered in thick impasto-like brushstrokes that just come together to render the scene. The figure is comprised of mostly white brushstrokes and their clothing is black, against a background of sage, orange, cadmium red, dabs of yellow, blue, and navy. The figure's eyes are downcast playing the cello, left arm grasping the cello’s neck and right arm holding the bow. The figure recedes into the background at moments.
David Park (American, 1911-1960), The Cellist, 1959, oil on canvas, 56 in x 56 in, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Ronna and Eric Hoffman. Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 86.77

While he was a young artist, David Park experimented with the predominant style of the day: abstract expressionism. However, he made a decisive turn toward representation and broke away from the fashion of the 1950s American art world. Park favored painting the figure either alone or in groups, using thick layers of paint and blocks of color to depict forms and convey emotions. He described this shift in his practice: “I have found that in accepting and immersing myself in subject matter I paint with more intensity and that the ‘hows’ of painting are more inevitably determined by the ‘whats.’” Come take a look at this painting on the first floor of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

David Park (American, 1911–1960), The Cellist, 1959. Oil on canvas. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Ronna and Eric Hoffman, 86.77

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