Frank Lobdell arrives at Stanford

Born in Kansas City, MO in 1921, Frank Lobdell eventually became a key figure in the heyday of Bay Area abstract expressionism. He began his artistic education at Minnesota’s Saint Paul School of Fine Art before serving in the US Army during World War II (from 1942-1946). Upon his return, the G.I. Bill allowed him to attend the prestigious California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. He rounded off his education in Paris, at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, before settiling back in the Bay Area, where he opened his own studio and added teaching to his resume—first at his alma mater and later at Stanford, where he served on the Art Department faculty from 1966 to 1991. Though known for his work in abstraction, he participated in weekly figure drawing sessions with colleagues, enjoying the camaraderie they promulgated as well as the inspiration they instigated for his other work. A 2009-10 exhibit at Cantor Arts Center entitled “Frank Lobdell Figure Drawings” displayed some of this work, never meant to be viewed publicly, alongside the work of his contemporaries, juxtaposing his artistic perspective with theirs. Throughout his teaching career, he had solo exhibitions in such prestigious institutions as the de Young Memorial Museum and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art as well as close to home at the Stanford University Museum of Art (now the Cantor). To find repositories of his work, visit the Cantor, National Gallery in Washington, D.C., SF MoMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and more.

  • 2009-10 Cantor Press Release on Lobdell Exhibition