Jay DeFeo, Detail, Snake River Canyon, 1974. Acrylic on ragboard, 10 x 15 inches.
This fall, the San Jose Museum of Art showcases for the first time artworks from a major gift of art from the collection of Dixon and Barbara Farley. SJMA received 44 works from the Farley collection in 2015 and an earlier gift of 29 works following Mr. Farley’s death in 2011. Diebenkorn in the Bedroom, DeFeo in the Den: Generous Gifts from the Dixon and Barbara Farley Collection, on view October 3, 2015 through February 7, 2016, features highlights from this gift of modern and contemporary art, which includes works by nationally recognized artists as well as notable California artists. Among the highlights are works by Jay DeFeo, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Serra, James Siena, David Simpson, Richard Shaw, and Peter Wegner.
“The Farleys built their collection with deep passion, independence, and a keen eye for abstraction. Their art filled their home and their life—as did their commitment to supporting the work of living artists,” said Susan Krane, Oshman Executive Director of SJMA. “The Museum is honored to exhibit this intimate collection of works by California artists and nationally recognized artists who were previously unrepresented in the collection.”
The exhibition includes works that range from Jay DeFeo’s textured renderings and abstracted drawings to de Kooning’s powerful compositions to Philip Guston’s abstract expressionist works in various media. DeFeo’s painting Detail, Snake River Canyon, (1974) is a textured rendering of the prominent form also seen in her seminal work, The Rose (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Another work by DeFeo, Untitled, from the series “Shoe Tree”(1977), is one of her abstracted depictions of objects such as camera tripods, shoetrees, and swim goggles. In Woman II (1967), Willem de Kooning demonstrates his powerful combination of figurative distortion and gestural abstraction. In the gestural painting Composer’s Landscape (1960), Philip Guston showcases the experimentation that marked his career, as well as his interest in abstract expressionism. Alex Katz depicts bright yellow flowers flattened onto the picture plane in his painting Untitled (Yellow Irises) (1968), in which his use of bold colors, monochromatic backgrounds, and simplified forms to create two dimensional space show him to be a precursor to Pop Art. Richard Serra’s Bessie Smith (1999) is a large, one-color etching that resembles the thick, circular slabs of black-painted cast iron in his metal “Splashings” from the late 1960s. Serra used deeply etched plates capable of carrying up to a pound or more of ink to create a textured surface and a physical presence akin to his massive steel sculptures.
Other highlights include works on paper by Richard Diebenkorn, Joseph Cornell, Henry Moore, and Claes Oldenberg; and ceramic works by Richard Shaw. Works by Milton Avery, Tom Bolles, James Brooks, Bruce Conner, Red Grooms, Nancy Haynes, Jack Jefferson, Patsy Krebs, Frank Lobdell, Richard Lodwig, Brice Marden, David Ortins, James Siena, and David Simpson will also be on view.
Dixon and Barbara Farley shared their Marin home with an impressive, constantly growing collection of modern and contemporary art. Dixon Farley’s dedication (in particular to the work of Bay Area artists) never faltered, and he added new works to his collection up until his death in 2011. A talented painter himself, Dixon Farley enjoyed personal relationships with the artists whose work he collected and encouraged their development over many years.
San Jose Museum of Art - Highlights from the gift of Dixon and Barbara Farley - 03.10.2015 - 07.02.2016