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Morning Art

“Boston Street Scene,” By David Park (1954)

Here is a nice appreciation of Park from The New York Review of Books:

David Park (1911–1960) is one of those artists who isn’t widely known but whose work inspires a special loyalty and warmth of feeling among his admirers. The partisan flavor his very name can arouse is partly dependent, of course, on his not being a household name to begin with. But Park, who was based in Berkeley, California, and was, along with Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, one of the leading lights of what has been called “Bay Area” painting in the 1950s, makes some of us always eager to see more of his work and learn more about him because his best pictures have a particular tenderness and sense of gravity—a note that sets him apart from near-contemporaries of his such as Alice Neel, Fairfield Porter, or Alex Katz.

Not that there is anything sentimental or literary—or modest in scope—about Park’s painting. In his pictures of, say, people at a dining-room table, young men walking, musicians at work, or in his portraits, he doesn’t spell out specific expressions. Most of his energy has gone into his feeling for the shifts in the inner space of an image and for the creation of light, which he can make sizzlingly bright or glowingly soft. A person’s eyes, in a Park, might be no more than dots. Yet the magic of his brushy and muscular paintings, often marked by hot reds, yellows, and oranges, is that the people in them have psychologically full presences, and we are pulled into the reflective spirit of the images.

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