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Frank Lobdell

(Kansas City, Missouri, 1921 - 2013, Palo Alto, California)

American

A defining experience for Frank Lobdell during his years as an undergraduate student at the Saint Paul (Minnesota) School of Fine Arts was three days viewing the Art Institute of Chicago’s 1940 Picasso exhibition. Lobdell, who was impressed by the power of Picasso’s work, later drew inspiration from prehistoric cave art, Egyptian sculpture and Clyfford Still, who was teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) when Lobdell enrolled there following his service in World War II. Lobdell also studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris from 1950-51. Following his return to San Francisco, Lobdell was acknowledged as a leading figure in the development of the Bay Area’s distinctive response to Abstract exhibitionism and one of the finest draughtsmen working in Northern California in the second half of the 20th century. His work was featured in exhibitions at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York from 1958 through 1975 and subsequently at Smith Andersen Gallery (Palo Alto), Campbell Thiebaud Gallery (San Francisco) and Hackett-Friedman Gallery (also San Francisco). Lobdell was accorded one-person exhibitions at the M. H. DeYoung Memorial Museum (1960 and 1992), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1983) and Portland Museum of Art (2003). Lobdell was an influential teacher at the California School of Fine Arts (1957-65) and Stanford University (1966-91). In contrast to many of his longtime colleagues and close friends, including Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and Nathan Oliveira, who renounced abstraction and became important artists associated with Bay Area figuration, Lobdell maintained his commitment to abstraction throughout his career.

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