Late last year, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University received a gift from two individuals, one who has been giving the gift of time to the museum for years and the other an alumnus. Keith Jantzen and his husband, Scott Beth, ’82, donated Untitled (Portrait of Tom Jefferson), 1957, by the Bay Area artist David Park (1911-60). The painting will be on view when the museum reopens on Sept. 22, 2021.
“I am extremely grateful to Keith Jantzen and Scott Beth for their generous gift to the Anderson Collection,” said Jason Linetzky, director of the museum. “The addition of this work focuses renewed attention on David Park, a compassionate artist and educator whose inventive spirit and camaraderie with artists forever transformed the landscape of figurative painting in California and beyond. Their gift helps contextualize Park’s practice and expands opportunities for research, teaching and exhibition of the artist’s work in conversation with his contemporaries.”
Park gave the portrait to his sitter, Tom Jefferson, as recorded on the back of the canvas by Jefferson: “Berkeley, Calif. This painting was given to me in the spring of 1957 by the artist David Park. The model is me – I worked for Park as a model during 1956 & 1957. J. Thomas Jefferson.” The painting passed through several different hands, was included in a Park retrospective exhibition organized by the Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California, that traveled to the Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, in the 1970s, and was finally acquired by Jantzen and Beth in 2016.
Jantzen and Beth are thrilled that the painting is entering the Anderson Collection and becoming available to the community to enjoy. “We are dedicating this gift to the museum’s staff and volunteers in honor and recognition of all they do to share their passion with others for modern and contemporary art. We feel strongly that the Anderson Collection is the perfect home for this wonderful painting, reflecting Park’s artistic vision and his life-long embrace of learning and teaching,” the couple said.
In her research on the Anderson Collection and the importance of Park, former curatorial intern Sydney Simon, PhD ’18, wrote, “In the 1950s, a small group of artists in San Francisco took a surprising turn away from Abstract Expressionism, which dominated progressive art in New York and California, by reintroducing recognizable subject matter into their painting…David Park, who was teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Arts Institute), initiated this embrace of the figure in 1950.”
The untitled oil on canvas painting measuring 24 5/8 x 8 5/8 inches joins another work by Park in the Anderson Collection, Four Women, 1959, and works by other Bay Area figurative painters such as Stanford alumnus Richard Diebenkorn, Manuel Neri and Nathan Oliveira, who taught at Stanford. Bay Area figurative art is a particular strength of the Anderson Collection and the second Park painting is an important acquisition. A collection of essays about the painting by Nancy Boas, Helen Park Bigelow and John Seed will be available in the galleries and online at the time of the opening. The Anderson Collection reopens to the public on Sept. 22 after being closed several months for maintenance. The permanent collection is being completely reinstalled on the second floor, and there will be two temporary solo exhibitions on view as of Sept. 23: Sam Richardson:Islands, Ice, and Sand in the first floor Wisch Family Gallery and Eamon Ore-Giron: Non Plus Ultra on the second floor. Free reservations are required for all visitors and more information can be found on the museum’s website.
Photo caption: David Park, Untitled (Portrait of Tom Jefferson), 1957. Oil on canvas. Anderson Collection at Stanford University, a gift from Keith Jantzen and Scott Beth ’82 in honor of the Anderson Collection’s staff and volunteers, TN.2020.1. © Estate of David Park