Faralla: Moment to Moment

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watts art publications

faralla: moment to moment published by watts art publications, 2021

Essay © 2021 Patricia Watts Artwork © 2021 The Estate of Richard Faralla Design by Jasmine Moorhead Thank you to the following: Pierre Merkl; Ruth Walker; Charles Swerz and his sister Janet Swerz; Bruce Tessler; Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery; Diane and Monte Clark; Zara Southard; Aldo and Eva Faralla; Benjamin and Michael Lapp (sons of Maurice Lapp); Jeffrey Lockard (son of Harry Lockard); David Simpson (and son Gregory Vose); Dennis Calabi; Andrew Beduhn; Steven Wolf; City of Santa Rosa Public Art; Sonja Marck and Michael Rohde of The 8 Gallery; Matt Gonzalez; K.C. Seymour; Julie Haas; Alan Porter; Nancy Jarvis; Suzanne and Laurellee Westaway; Oakland Museum of California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Lawrence Converso; Laura S. Whitcomb; Federico Giani, Foundation Arnaldo Pomodoro (Milan, Italy); the Menil Archives. Front cover: Richard Faralla (1916–1996). Mephisto (Effigy) No. 111—Self-Portrait. 1988. Burnt wood construction with red wash, 27 x 13 1/2 inches. Private Collection. Back cover: Richard Faralla (1916–1996). Circle or Pisces I (Meteric Series). Wood construction, painted black, 36inch diameter. Formerly in the Collection of Stanford Art Museum, Palo Alto. Frontispiece (p. 4): Richard Faralla, San Francisco, c. 1976.

WATTS ART PUBLICATIONS issuu.com/wattsartpublications


In 2017, I stayed in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the summer and decided to look into the Estate of Richard Faralla (1916–1996). I had heard from conservator and art dealer Dennis Calabi in Santa Rosa, California that the remaining works in the estate were left to Faralla’s niece Patricia Faralla, Maggie, who had lived in New Mexico for many years. Maggie was the only daughter of William Faralla, the artist’s older brother, and had grown up in Los Angeles with her father and stepmother, June. Maggie did not spend any time with her uncle until 1966 when her father and the artist Faralla reconnected for the first time in twentyfive years, for Faralla’s show at Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles. When Maggie later had a career in the music business working with Electra, A&M, and RCA labels, she reached out to her uncle on a trip to San Francisco, and from then on, they kept in touch through writing letters and saw each other on occasions during the holidays. Faralla made several sculptures for her as gifts.

Richard Faralla, c. 1965–66

Faralla’s good friend and caretaker of his work since the artists’ death, shipped everything from Petaluma, California, to Santa Fe. Sadly Maggie passed away in 2014. The mission of the Watts Art Publications imprint is to present the work of Bay Area artists who have been overlooked or not received their due. This book, Faralla: Moment to Moment, the seventh of the series, delivers the most comprehensive monograph to date of this significant artist. Faralla’s drive for a life of creative expression, without the security of regular income, stands now as a romantic vision and seems impossible in the current bullish and competitive art environment. Yet here in Faralla’s work is evidence of its potential: he poetically integrated the spirit of his time while fearlessly answering to his artistic impulses. —PLW

In 2009, ten years after the artist’s death, Maggie worked with Sonja Marck and Michael Rohde with the Gallery 8 in San Francisco to resurrect Faralla’s work. In 2012, Maggie then decided with the growing art market in Santa Fe that the time was right to give her uncle a show in the Land of Enchantment. Maggie secured a venue at the David Richards Gallery that focused on post-war abstraction. Ruth Walker,


FARALLA: MOMENT TO MOMENT Patricia Watts Duane Raoul Faralla, later known as Richard Faralla, was born on March 19, 1916, in Brooklyn, New York. His grandparents, Menotti and Preziosa Faralla, had come to New York aboard the Pannonia Cunard from Naples, Italy, in 1909. They brought with them four sons, Dario, Aldo, Guido, and Raoul. Duane’s father, their eldest son, Dario Giovanni Alfonso Luciano Faralla, was born in 1886 in San Severo, Italy, and his mother, Nanaz (Nancy) Schmit, was a socialite born in Denmark.1 Duane had one older brother, William (Bill) Duane Faralla, born in 1912. The marriage of Dario and Nancy was short lived, ending in divorce in 1921 when Duane was only five years old. Subsequently, Nancy abandoned the family, never to return.

military academy. Dario embarked on a career as a supervisor at Republic Pictures in Studio City and then worked as a producer with Paramount Pictures in Hollywood until 1939.2 During this time, he married again to a young poet and actress; their union produced a son. In the late 1930s, while living with his father in Van Nuys, Duane Faralla worked with the Federal Theatre Project. He was twenty-six years old in 1942, with World War II two years already underway, when his draft number was called. He enlisted in the US Army, reporting for duty at Santa Anita racetrack, and was then taken by train through the Southwest to Mississippi for training. Along the way, Faralla drew trees, hills, plains, and mountains. While stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he drew with charcoal and Conté crayon, mostly representational utilitarian objects, such as an old army space heater.3 The following year, he was stationed at Camp Gruber in Muskogee, Oklahoma (see image p. 6). In May 1944, Faralla’s father suddenly passed away of a heart attack at fifty-seven years old. Faralla was twenty-eight years old at the time. He was not in communication with his mother, and his grandparents, who are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, had committed suicide shortly after he was born. The only family he had left were his brother William, who had enlisted in the US Navy; his father’s third wife; and his stepbrother, who was only nine years old at the time. Over the summer, the artist was stationed at Fort Meade in Maryland. While on furlough

Duane Raoul (later Richard) Faralla, c. 1925

Dario worked in Brooklyn as a certified public accountant for several years, and by the early 1930s, after another marriage had also failed, he moved with his two sons to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, Duane and his brother William were placed in a boarding school, an all-boys Catholic


under the leadership of General Patton. Faralla was later awarded a Silver Star for his bravery in the vicinity of Schankweiler, Germany. He was on his way to Japan when the war in the Pacific ended in mid-August 1945. He decided to return to New York, and he and Alma ended their marriage later that year for reasons unknown. The official citation for his Silver Star reads: Master Sergeant DUANE R. FARALLA, 39158119, 5th Infantry, 2nd Regiment of the Third U. S. Army. United States Army. Awarded Silver Star for gallantry in action, on 20 February, 1945, in the vicinity of SCHANKWEILER, Germany. When heavy enemy artillery scored a direct hit on a forward observation post, severely wounding eight men, Sergeant Faralla, a platoon leader, without hesitation or thought of personal safety, led a party of three men forward over 1, 000 yards of open terrain and under concentrated enemy fire to the position. Faralla improvised an ingenious litter to evacuate the wounded men down a tortuous slope to comparative safety. His initiative and deep devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of armed forces. Entered military service from New York.5 Upon his return to Los Angeles from New York in 1946, Faralla’s art was included in several exhibitions, including a one-man show at the Boys Club, where he presented his drawings of factories, homes, and farms, made with charcoal, pencil, Conté crayon, and colored chalk. The show traveled to other Boys Clubs in Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Pasadena and was later presented in the exhibit room at the Los Angeles Central Public Library. He also presented works in the members’ room at the Pasadena Art Institute on North Los Robles Avenue. For this show, Faralla submitted nine drawings and paintings, including Hansel and Gretel (Winter); Flight over Greece; Carousel; Village Moulotte, France; Chapel, Luxembourg; Self-

Duane (later Richard) Faralla, Muskogee, Oklahoma, 1943.

in New York City in August, he married a Alma Frieda Schirmer in nearby Bronxville. She was a divorcée ten years his senior and worked as an executive at Macy & Co. in New York City.4 These were uncertain times. In September 1944, Faralla shipped off for France and Germany during the European Theater of Operations. While there, he sketched impressions of churches and landscapes during his assignments. By the end of the year, he found himself in heavy combat at the Battle of Bulge


Duane (later Richard) Faralla. The Letter. 1943. Gouache on paper, 5 x 8 inches. Kevin Christopher Gallery, Oakland.

In the fall of 1946, Faralla was also invited to be in a large group show alongside artists Hans Burkhardt and Lorser Feitelson at the Greek Theatre at Griffith Park. The artist included a gouache work titled Sunflowers.8 For Faralla’s oneman show at Books and Arts on North Highland Avenue, a Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote, “His drawings done while overseas possess an air of fantasy. A few are realistic. All indicative of a sensitive talent and love of precise expression.”9 In 1947, he participated in an exhibition at the Hall of Art in Beverly Hills juried by Stanton MacDonald Wright, Feitelson, and three others.10

Portrait; Space Heater, US Army; Barn, Deutschland; and Ruhr Valley, Hills. A review in the Pasadena Star-News indicates that “D. Faralla” did sketches while in France and Germany in his free time “to keep from going crazy,” and, “His paintings and drawings have individuality, finish, character, and meaning.”6 Faralla was subsequently included in the exhibition They Have Returned at the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) gallery, which presented seven artists who had served during World War II, including Millard Sheets, an artist-correspondent for Life magazine. Helen Wurdemann, director of LAAA, who had lived in Italy during the 1930s, sent a typed note to the artist stating, “Your sensitive, jewel-like drawings, both subjective and with the war background, played no small part in rounding out the show and making it a success.”7

Faralla’s first job out of the army was as a picture designer with Bekins Glass and Frame Company in Los Angeles.11 Later, he worked as an illustrator with RKO Pictures film studio, which was experiencing a postwar boom.12 However, by


the late 1940s, the film business took a nosedive due to the rise of television. McCarthyism was building in strength, and hearings into communism in the motion picture industry were taking place. By the end of 1947, Howard Hughes took over RKO Pictures and profits fell.

the Presidio, and by 1951 he was enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA). In 1952, Faralla had several back-to-back exhibitions. He won the first-prize purchase award at the California State Fair in Sacramento for an oil painting titled Interior with Leaves.14 He was also included in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor’s Fifth Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, curated by Thomas Carr Howe Jr., the legion’s director. Works by June Wayne and Millard Sheets, among many others, were also selected. Faralla’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco took place at the City of Paris Rotunda Gallery. In art critic Alexander Fried’s review of several shows, titled “Five Painters Make the Team,” the critic, borrowing a sports metaphor, writes that Faralla passed the “painter’s test” and acknowledged his Interior with Leaves.15 The artist continued to have exhibitions at the City of Paris Rotunda Gallery through the 1950s. Other artists who exhibited at the gallery at the time were Jean Varda, Dorr Bothwell, Geoffrey Bowman, Hassel Smith, Edna Stoddart, Louis Siegriest, and his son Lundy Siegriest.

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS In 1948, Faralla moved to San Francisco at thirtytwo years of age. It is not known exactly how he met Louis (Lou) Bassi Siegriest, the youngest member of the Society of Six, who became his lifelong friend, although it is possible that Faralla moved up to take classes with Siegriest at the Art Students League of San Francisco. The artist’s departure from Los Angeles probably also served to avoid any communist links with Hollywood, as he was an artist who was a registered Democrat.13 Duane rented an apartment on Clay Street near

Faralla’s paintings were signed “D. Faralla” and included still lifes of flowers or floral fragments painted in oils and casein. The titles of his paintings of Bay Area locations included Bayside Reflections, Marin Landscape, City Panorama, City Nocturne, Golden Gate, Urban Industry, Russian Hill, Seacliff Afternoon, The Presidio, Yerba Buena Twilight, and Overlooking Angel Island. These works were an introduction to his painting style for curators John Humphrey at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Robert Sterling at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Ninfa Valvo at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. Louis Bassi Siegriest. Miner Going to Church. 1952. Mixed media on panel, 29 × 24 1/2 inches. Photo by Camille Sylvester. Courtesy of Calabi Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA.

While it is known that Faralla was raised Catholic and, as previously noted, that he attended a


Richard Faralla. The Last Supper. 1952. Oil on board, dims. unknown. Photo: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Catholic military academy for his middle school and high school years in Los Angeles, it is not known where in New York he was baptized or which church he attended during his youth. Being Catholic was an integral part of his identity, and he was invited to participate in the 1952 exhibition Religious Art by California Artists at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park. Faralla exhibited a very large horizontal painting entitled The Last Supper.16 Other artists included in the show were Sheets, Lundy Siegriest, and Wayne. Faralla was also included in shows that same year at the Oakland Exposition Building, San Francisco Museum of Art War Memorial at the Civic Center, and Oakland Art Gallery.

Bottle (p. 43), in the collection of the Oakland Museum of California; Persimmon (p. 42), B Is Beer, and one whose title is unknown, each in private collections. All four date from 1953 and were painted with casein on cigarette foil and handmade, painted wooden frames. The artist used his smoking habit as the foundation surface of these paintings, creating a makeshift illumination technique used by artists in the early Italian Renaissance. A highlight for Faralla during his final semester at CSFA in 1955 was the organization of an alumni association exhibition entitled Prints from Italy by Young Moderns. The show featured contemporary Italian lithographs, which he installed in the school’s Annex Gallery. CSFA sent a letter on behalf of the alumni association thanking Faralla for his time and effort and giving him full

To date, the only paintings from Faralla’s time at CSFA that have been physically located include


credit for the show’s success. He also received an honorarium as a token of their appreciation.17 Faralla graduated from the CSFA with a BFA in May 1955.

Temple Street in Boston. By the fall of 1957, he had managed to land a job there teaching drawing at Ursuline Academy, a Catholic preparatory school for young women. He also met with and wrote to Theodore Jones, associate director at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), where he proposed an experimental graphic workshop. The artist was eager to align his work with the ICA as it navigated the fields of education and investigated contemporary art. However, he received a rejection letter from Jones’s secretary, who stated that the ICA could not make use of his proposed workshop at that time.20

After graduation, Faralla changed his first name from Duane to Richard, or Dick for short, and began teaching drawing classes at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. There, two of his students, Bruce Montgomery and Ron Clark, and their respective wives, Bonnie and Diana, would become lifelong friends and supporters. In 1956, Faralla took two classes at San Francisco State College. He was included in the inaugural exhibition for the East Bay Artists Association at the Oakland Museum of Art, as well as three exhibitions with the San Francisco Art Association. He won an award at the second annual Jack London Square Art Festival.

While in Boston, Faralla received three letters from Jack and Jane Weidele of Telegraph Hill Art Gallery in San Francisco; the first and second stated that they had sold some of his paintings and had enclosed checks. The last letter affirmed that they decided to sell the gallery and move to Monterey and would like to return the remainder of his paintings.21 In March 1958, he sent a Western Union telegram to Richard Stevens, founder and president of San Francisco’s Academy of Art College, seeking to return to San Francisco and teach a drawing class. He received a brief letter in reply, indicating that, because of the recession, they could not add any new faculty members.22 By that summer, with no further job prospects, he decided to drive back to San Francisco.

In May 1957, at forty-one years old, Faralla decided to leave San Francisco and drive to the East Coast. Bonnie Montgomery sewed curtains for his Volkswagen van so he could sleep and change clothes in privacy.18 Dorothy Walker, in an article in the San Francisco News, wished the artist farewell. Walker stated that after nine years living in Northern California, “His leaving is something quite personal—but apart from persons, places and things. It does have to do with painting. He feels he has reached a stage in his development— ‘statements,’ artists call them—that impels him to see a new environment.” She wrote that he was heading to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, although he did not know anyone there, and described him as a self-sufficient, articulate, and practical person. She also mentions that Faralla would be selling some of his remaining paintings in a two-day sale arranged by sculptor Ruth Cravath at her stoneyard.19

FROM PAINTING TO SCULPTURE Upon his return to the Bay Area in the summer of 1958, Faralla was immediately hired by San Francisco architect John Bolles as the director of the new Bolles Gallery on Sansome Street in San Francisco’s Jackson Square. The inaugural exhibition, which opened in November and was organized by Faralla, included Arthur Holman, William Morehouse, and Richard Brennan. Holman, who was trained by Raymond Jonson at the University of New Mexico, presented layered,

Although Faralla had said he was heading to Cape Ann, he corresponded using a mailing address on


Arnaldo Pomodoro. II muro [The Wall]. 1957. Lead, copper, and wood, 60 x 119 x 5 in. Courtesy Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro.

minimalist, multicolored pointillist paintings. The two would become lifelong friends.23

lead, cement, tin, and wood (see above). These early works, which Faralla reviewed while director of the Bolles Gallery, had a profound aesthetic impact on him. Pomodoro’s works captured a depth of emotion that Faralla responded to through the transformation of raw materials into constructed abstract forms, combining jagged shapes and protrusions, and giving a sense of motion as if transitioning into another form. Pomodoro was friends with Alberto Giacometti and had recently become friends with Louise Nevelson in New York; seemingly, Faralla was greatly inspired by both of these artists, as well.25

In 1959, Arnaldo Pomodoro, an up-and-coming Italian postwar avant-garde sculptor, traveled to the United States from Milan for the first time, visiting New York and San Francisco. Pomodoro either brought with him or mailed ahead of his arrival photographs and exhibition catalogues of his work. It is unclear exactly how Pomodoro connected with the Bolles Gallery, although Pomodoro was invited by the gallery to organize a show of modern Italian art. New Work from Italy was assembled for a two-part exhibition in 1961, in San Francisco from February through March and in New York in November.24 Artists included were Arnaldo and his brother Giò Pomodoro, and Lucio Fontana, also from Milan, who had his first show in New York that same year.

It is also possible that Faralla experienced Nevelson’s exhibition Moon Garden Plus One at Grand Central Moderns Gallery in New York in January 1958 while he was residing in Boston. The exhibition featured one of her monumental wall assemblages, a wooden relief painted black presented in blue lighting entitled Sky Cathedral. Regardless, it is likely that he would have seen Nevelson’s simple wood sculptures featured in a

Pomodoro, who became well known for his polished cast bronze sculptures during the 1960s, made several wall relief sculptures in the 1950s using


special issue on contemporary sculpture in Art in America magazine in 1956. He was also inspired by her use of the simplest of materials, wood boxes filled with wooden objects—which Nevelson identified with from her youth growing up in a family of lumber dealers—painted all black.26 In 1959, as recounted by Bruce Montgomery, Faralla was driving his Volkswagen bus in San Francisco and saw a row of Victorian homes that were being demolished. The artist noticed the residual shards of wood lying on the ground. This was Faralla’s “aha” moment, and he immediately proceeded to load up his van with the wood fragments.27 There was something about these remnant scraps of wood that resonated with the zeitgeist, which Faralla would have been aware of, having seen Pomodoro’s work and most likely Nevelson’s as well. After organizing the bits into different sizes and shapes, Faralla made four small wall reliefs that were included in a group exhibition at the David Cole Gallery on the SS Vallejo, a decommissioned ferryboat in Sausalito on San Francisco Bay.28 Next, Faralla assembled five larger wood wall reliefs, which he worked on simultaneously for several months, titled Relief V, Relief VI, Relief VII, Relief VIII (at left), and Relief IX.29 At this time, the artist started recording his sculptures in a personal catalogue, with drawings of the works and related information. He also decided to go by only his surname, Faralla, which was how he signed his work from then on. He no longer worked at the Bolles Gallery after 1959. Beginning in 1960, while living on Telegraph Hill, Faralla continued making smaller relief objects, completing a dozen. He also made the first piece in his Tablet series (see p. 64) and over the summer created more than twelve large rectangular reliefs, both vertical and horizontal,

Richard Faralla. Relief VIII. 1960. Wood with latex, 80 x 30 x 2 3/4 in. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Roth, 1974.


as well as five Pillars. He invented several new series throughout the year, making Plaques, Columns, Chests, Lozenges, Metrics, and small Beasts, abstracted animal figures with legs made from assembled wood pieces. Faralla was also included in the Third Annual Outdoor Show of West Coast Sculptors in the Gallery Garden at Eric Locke Galleries, San Francisco. His work Pillar IV was presented in the Northern California Sculptors’ Annual exhibition at the Oakland Art Museum, which included Robert Arneson, Mary Fuller, and Stephen De Staebler, among others.

Richard Faralla. Memory of Frances Starr. Sketch from Faralla’s personal catalogue of works, 1961.

In 1961, Faralla started the year by making over twenty Metric pieces, which were photographed by his close friend, the composer and filmmaker Warner Jepson. The Metrics were more uneven in appearance, with geometric patterns made of bits of wood, not the slices and splinters that he had used before. He also made his first standing relief Votive meant to hold burning candles and created other important works, such as Moon Dial (see sketch, p. 61); Circle 1961, Pisces I (Metric series), painted black, which was exhibited the following year at the Stanford Art Museum (see image, p. 59); and Oval 1961 (Metric series), which was donated by the Women’s Board to the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA) the following year. In August, he made Night Gates (Metric series), a double-section wall-panel piece constructed on hollow-core doors and painted black, which he dedicated to the memory of Frances Starr, a stage actress whom Faralla either watched on set with his father during the filming of Five Star Final in Hollywood in 1931 or possibly saw in the stage version in New York the year before.30

sculpture of Dick Faralla at David Cole’s in Sausalito, hammering of found bits of wood into parallel strips of design, the whole tacked onto a board surface and hung up like a picture.”31 He was also included in the San Francisco Art Institute Sculpture Annual juried by Dorothy Canning Miller from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which included Bruce Conner, Charles Ross, Peter Voulkos, and others. The exhibition was reviewed by Herschel B. Chipp in ARTnews.32 In 1962, Faralla completed a standing box, which he had started in 1960, dedicated to Nevelson. He made drawings in pastel, chalk, and ink on paper, with the titles Icarus and Narcissus. He also began a series of Steles, including Stele: Mars 62, which was 108 inches high, and would work on this series through 1963. During the summer, he collaborated with Holman on a standing screen that opened with hinges into a triptych. Faralla constructed a wood relief on the exterior with a red wash, and Holman painted pointillist natural forms on the interior (see image on p. 15).33 Faralla also created a unique wood construction titled Francesca (Votive), a large wall relief that holds nineteen candles, the second work he made in memory of the actress Frances Starr (see above).34

That same year, Faralla was given a solo show at the David Cole Gallery on the S.S. Vallejo. A review of the exhibition by Arthur Bloomfield describes “an example of progression, the wood


By the end of 1962, Faralla made a Grotto (Votive) piece and a small series of three Roman candlesticks, or “Candellere,” in different colors, with the subtitles Bianco, Rosso, and Negro. He was also invited to participate in the exhibition Some Points of View at Stanford University Art Gallery in Palo Alto, which included his work Circle 1961, Pisces I (Metric series), painted black and thirty-six inches in diameter (see image on p. 16). The piece was purchased by Stanford University Museum of Art for their permanent collection.35 Faralla was also included in the SFMA exhibition Arts of the Bay Area, a summer show curated by John Humphrey that included Jeremy Anderson, Ruth Asawa, Claire Falkenstein, Bella Feldman, Seymour Locks, David Simpson, and Holman. A review by John Coplans in Artforum gave Faralla’s work serious attention, stating:

in the 1962 exhibition Fifty California Artists at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which traveled to the Walker Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Des Moines Art Center in 1963. This important survey of contemporary California artists was curated by George Culler of the SFMA, James Elliott of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Lloyd Goodrich, director of the Whitney. A review by John Canaday in the New York Times features two works, Faralla’s Oval and a painting by Richard Diebenkorn. Canaday notes, “Faralla, who irritatingly uses no first name, assembles some satisfying densely geometrical compositions from hundreds of bits of wooden moldings.”37 Also in 1962, Faralla’s work Stele: Mars 62 was featured in the survey exhibition The Artist’s Environment: West Coast, curated by the UCLA Art Galleries’ Director Frederick Wight for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth, Texas. Forty-nine artists were invited, including Karl Benjamin, Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn, Lorser Feitelson, Sam Francis, Morris Graves, Helen Lundeberg, Nathan Oliveira, Charles Ross, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and Stanton MacdonaldWright. The exhibition traveled in 1963 to the UCLA Art Galleries in Los Angeles and to the Oakland Museum of Art and included a 132-page catalogue, in which Wight wrote this about the artist:

Humphrey locates Dick Faralla in a gallery by himself, where his four formal and excellent pieces are shown to their best advantage. Lawrence Alloway’s restatement (“Notes on Rothko”) that renunciation and restraint do not lead to (artistic) poverty but concentrate and essentialize the artistic process is particularly applicable to the work of Faralla, who makes constructions of a certain uniqueness. With simple formats, a column, and oval, or a pair of door shapes, he creates an overall image out of small industrial scraps of wood, often machine cut at forty-five degrees (framer’s offcuts), placed continuously over the surface, but over-lapping and in depth, finally coated with either flat black or white paint. Superficially only, there appears to be some resemblance to Nevelson (the use of wood and flat black) but his material derives from an entirely different source, has no overtones of junk or neo-Dada and the organization of his pictorial elements owe more to Mondrian and surrealist automatism in a unique mixture.36

Faralla has a background as a painter and has only turned to sculpture since 1959. In this short time, he has developed a language in which he has made remarkably clear and precise statements; the alphabet of this language consists of small random-shaped blocks of wood. The over-all forms tend to be pylons, or oval plaques; and in one case a remarkable pair of doors. A single color, most often black, serves to unify these multiplicities. But these are not, to this writer,

Two works from Faralla’s Metric series made in 1961, Oval and Night Gates, were included


Richard Faralla. Diptych (Interior Triptych). 1962. Wood construction, painted red with black wax finish, 81 x 21 x 8 3/4 inches. Interior painting by Arthur Holman: oil paint on wood panel. Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Howard I. Jacobs, San Francisco.


In August, Faralla had a solo exhibition at the de Young Museum. Eleven sculptures were presented, including Circle (1963), which was on loan from Jake and Nancy Hamon of Dallas, a Texas oilman and his wife. Also on display were Stele: Mars 63 and Francesca. A review of the exhibition by Alfred Frankenstein describes Faralla’s work titled Circle as “spiky, explosive and melodiously calligraphic, a grand drift of movement.” Frankenstein also notes that Faralla used cut pieces rather than driftwood, which he had seen in the artist’s previous works.40 While the show was still up, in September, he made a series of crucifixes with eighteenth-century-style Italian Christ figures, and a few more reliefs and chests. In October 1963, Faralla had his first solo show in Los Angeles since 1947, at David Stuart Galleries on La Cienega Boulevard. In a Los Angeles Times review by Constance Perkins, titled “Faralla Wood Art Impresses,” the writer states that he is “both a craftsman and an artist,” and that the artist’s odds and ends of scrap wood are assembled into forms “in a manner not altogether foreign to the works of Louise Nevelson.”41 He also received important press that year in the form of an article about the SFMA titled the “Problems of the Modern Art Museum.” George Culler, who was director from 1958 to 1965, was quoted in defense of collecting regional artists: “We have done a good job of adding to the collection artists of this area—Richard Faralla, David Simpson, Bruce Conner, Rich O’Hanlon, Jeremy Anderson, Gordon Onslow Ford, John Baxter, Hassel Smith—all front rank people.”42

Richard Faralla. Circle or Pisces I Metric Series. 1961. Wood construction painted black, 36-inch diameter. Former Collection of Stanford Art Museum, Palo Alto, CA. See larger image p. 59.

funeral symbols, not even the black doors—they are too animated. They stir latent delights and the see-what-Ihave done out of which artistry arises. They carry this feeling to the sense of triumph which it demands. It is interesting that more than half of the work that Faralla has sold belongs to artists.38 In January 1963, Faralla’s work was on the cover of theARTgallery: America’s Art Exhibition Magazine. Inside was an image of a painting by David Simpson titled Arcadia Ego and, below it, a painting by Richard Bowman, Kinetogenics 42. A list of San Francisco’s galleries included Batman, Bolles, David Cole, Dilexi, Gump’s, Frederic Hobbs, Lucien Labaudt, R. E. Lewis, Eric Locke, Maxwell, Rose Rabow, and Ruthermore. Faralla started the year by making a series of Pillars, which he titled Pilastro; most reached around eight feet tall and were painted different colors, including subtitles negro, bianco, rosso, and ochre (see pp. 68–69). He also made smaller Pillars as well. He created a large Oval, six feet by four feet, and painted it ochre.39

The same year, Jermayne MacAgy, former curator at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor from 1941 until 1955, who was well known for her dramatic exhibition design, curated an exhibition titled Art Has Many Facets: The Artistic Fascination with the Cube at the Catholic University of St.


Thomas in Houston (see below).43 The exhibition opened in March and included Faralla’s large wall relief Night Gates, which was also featured—full page—in an essay by Fred Martin in August that same year titled “The Art of the West Coast of the United States” and published in Art and Australia (see image p. 18).44 Forty-nine artists exhibited in the large survey show, including Josef Albers, Alberto Giacometti, Alfred Jensen, Paul Klee, Fernand Léger, René Magritte, Louise Nevelson, Odilon Redon, Anne Truitt, and Victor Vasarely. This was MacAgy’s final installation, as she died of diabetes at forty years of age the following year. Faralla and MacAgy shared a common bond in Catholicism and their love of primitive figures. Martin’s review described Faralla’s work:

affirmed in the way that a sprouting seed affirms life after winter. The pieces were executed by a man in selfimposed isolation, in the hermitage of anonymity which lies in the out-districts of any great city. They were made from the only material available to poverty; the splinters and broken boards of ruined buildings, scraps of debris anonymous as the artist himself, lost in the nameless mass of people “who do not count.” Faralla had come (then) from a background where in art’s values derived from formal, rather than personal characteristics. The fusion of these two forces in him during a period of intense personal development and re-evaluation may well have contributed to the unquestionable power and beauty of the result.45 In 1964, Faralla started making crosses and crucifixes. In April, he wrote “Transition . . .” in his catalogue and assembled compositions with larger wood surfaces, cut into shapes, which he placed together like puzzle pieces. These new works were untitled and approximately fourteen

The earliest pieces were executed after a major spiritual crisis when Faralla’s previous culture and sense of self had been assaulted and found wanting by the world and himself. In these pieces, culture and the spirit are

Installation view of Art Has Many Facets: The Artistic Fascination with the Cube , University of St. Thomas, Houston 1963. Curated by Jermayne MacAgy and featuring Faralla’s Night Gates (black rectangle right of center in image). Image courtesy of The Menil Collection, Houston. Photo by Baltazar Korab.


swirling vortex of cut-wood pieces painted white; he titled the work Simpson’s Way (see p. 19), and traded it for a painting by Simpson titled No. 11 Wind Stripes (1962).46 By September 1964, Faralla created a series of five boxes constructed both horizontally and vertically and painted white. He participated in the exhibition Contemporary California Sculpture at the Oakland Art Museum, and he showed his work Stele: Mars, made in 1963, in the Festival of Fine Arts at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Other artists in the festival exhibition included Lorser Feitelson, John McLaughlin, Oliveira, Edward Ruscha, Hassel Smith, and Emerson Woelffer. Faralla also received a commission that year from one of San Francisco’s most important civic leaders and patrons of the arts, grande dame Elise Stern Haas. Haas, who was living in Atherton at the time, invited Faralla to create a pair of wood relief panels, a diptych painted black, for her dining room (see image on pp. 70–71). She had recently become the first female president of the board of directors at SFMA, and she approved the museum’s first acquisition of Faralla’s work, Oval, made in 1961, which was purchased by the Women’s Board and donated into the collection in 1962.47

Richard Faralla. Night Gates featured in Art and Australia Magazine, 1963.

by sixteen inches in size. He then cut smaller squares and triangle shapes, some of which were painted bright colors, including orange, purple, red, and blue, which he then overlaid onto the flat surfaces (see pp. 74–75). During this time, the artist was friends with David Simpson, who in a recent interview recalled going to Faralla’s studio on Valencia just south of Market Street in 1964. There, he watched Faralla use a table saw, cutting the wood into shapes. Simpson said that Faralla was very generous with his time, although he could be a bit feisty, in a fun way. The artists first met at Faralla’s solo show at the David Cole Gallery in 1961 and traded a few artworks in the early 1960s. Simpson still has a Faralla wood relief attached to the back of the front door of his home in Berkeley, where it has hung since 1961. In 1964, Faralla assembled a large circle, or

Also in 1964, Faralla sold his large ochre painted Oval, made in 1963, to the Golden Gateway Center development across from the Embarcadero for the lobby of the modernist high-rise Macondray House.48 He was invited to participate in a traveling exhibition entitled Sculpture from San Francisco, including works by Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Fletcher Benton, Bella Feldman, and others. The show was a part of ten touring exhibitions organized by the Art Bank between 1964 and 1966, under


the direction of the Art Association of the San Francisco Art Institute. Faralla’s Simpson’s Way was included in the Art Bank 64/66 catalogue.49

From August 1965 until May 1966, Faralla did not make any work. It is uncertain exactly what he did, although Simpson remembers that he told him he was taking a cross-country trip in his Volkswagen van—Faralla owned several through the years.52 It is also possible that he may have gone to Europe, where he bought a new Volkswagen van in which he traveled around

In 1965, Faralla experimented with a new modernist style, first with a Pillar piece using larger cuts of flat, assembled wood. He then made some smaller reliefs in the same style, as well as boxes and chests. He continued to add segments of color (see image Red Check Series on p. 76). In the fall, he was included in a group exhibition White on White: Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, Drawing at the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts; the show had a second iteration at the Danforth Museum, also in Lincoln.50 That same year, Faralla also made two unique hand mirrors—one for Edna Stoddart Siegriest, Faralla’s good friend Louis Siegriest’s wife, whom Faralla was very fond of, and the other for Ninfa Valvo. He noted in his catalogue of works that he would consider making them in cast bronze in the future. It is important to note that Faralla had many friends, both men and women, and often gave artworks as gifts for anniversaries, births, and even deaths. Faralla had an ongoing friendship with Valvo, who was curator of painting and sculpture at the de Young Museum from 1941 to 1965. She was also a first-generation Italian American and had been a yeomanette in the navy during World War I. In the 1930s, Valvo took classes at CSFA, where she later received an honorary doctorate. Faralla gave many works to Valvo through the 1960s, including a large red coffer he made in 1963, which was included in his exhibition at the de Young that same year, that she later donated to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (see p. 20). Both were Italian Catholics and had served in the military during World Wars, and each came from a broken home.51

Richard Faralla. Simpson’s Way. 1964. Wood painted white, 36 inches diameter. Private Collection.

before shipping it back to San Francisco. His cousins Aldo and Eva Faralla remember that he definitely traveled to Italy at some point. This time period is undocumented, for now. When he returned to San Francisco, he moved to the Fillmore district, on Buchanan Street. RETROSPECTIVE AT SFMA The first half of the decade had proven to be quite successful for Faralla. At this juncture, he had already made over 250 wood sculptures. In 1966, he established gallery representation with Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles and


was invited by George Culler, director of San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMA), to have a solo exhibition at the end of August. Faralla made a new collage series of six pieces incorporating mixed media, including paper, cardboard, and plywood (see image 1966 Relief, p. 79). He also made a small box for his niece Patricia (Patty, later called Maggie) Faralla, his brother William’s daughter, who lived in Hollywood. In March, Faralla was included in the exhibition 2 Dimensional Sculpture and 3 Dimensional Painting at the Richmond Art Center, which included a thirty-page catalogue. San Francisco collectors Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Jacobs loaned Faralla’s Mars, made in 1964, for the show. Twenty-seven artists were included, with works by John Anderson, Roy De Forest, Tony DeLap, Robert Hudson, John McCracken, William Morehouse, Dennis Oppenheim, David Simpson, and William Wiley.53 Over the summer, Faralla made six relief pieces using paper egg cartons painted with latex paint mixed with sand. The first in this series, Relief I, he dedicated to his friend, the sculptor John Baxter, who died suddenly in August while Faralla was preparing for his show. (see p. 82) He donated the work to SFMA the following year. The other three reliefs were given to his neighbors in the Fillmore district near Jefferson Square Park. One relief, painted black with blue and green wash, he gifted to Valvo. The artist’s first retrospective, titled Faralla, opened at SFMA (now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) on August 20, 1966. The museum’s director, George Culler, had recently taken a new post as president at the Philadelphia College of Art, and Humphrey assumed the role of curator of the show. The exhibition included seventy sculptures dating from 1960 to 1966 and was accompanied by a forty-eight-page catalogue.

Richard Faralla. Coffer. 1963. Wood painted red with red wax finish and metal interior, 29 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 19 in. Collection of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, Gift of Ninfa Valvo. Photographed in situ at Grace Cathedral.


Culler wrote a short foreword, which mentions that he first viewed Faralla’s work at the David Cole Gallery on the SS Vallejo ferryboat in Sausalito in 1959. This had been the same year that Faralla started to make wood sculptures and the first year that Culler was director of SFMA. Culler also stated that “his sculpture speaks in the artist’s own language but shares with the great tradition the qualities of its speaking.”54

a mirror attached to it and another had marble inlay (see Archae-Tectonic VI p. 83). The year 1967 began with thirty-seven civilians killed by a U.S. helicopter attack in Vietnam and thirteen U.S. helicopters being shot down in one day a month later. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as governor of California, and there was a massive racial confrontation between armed white and African American convicts at San Quentin State Prison. In April, over forty thousand anti-war protestors in San Francisco marched from the Ferry Building to Kezar Stadium. San Francisco police estimated there were some four thousand hippies in the city and that over one hundred thousand were expected to arrive by the summer.57

In a review titled “Faralla Gets Art out of the Woods,” Bloomfield refers to the artist as a “woodsman extraordinaire” and states that he was currently fifty years old and was thirty-nine years old when he had graduated from CSFA in 1955. Bloomfield also describes him as a late-starter and concludes, “It seems safe to say that Faralla’s not about to run out of fresh paths—surely the seven years on exhibit have as much fascination in them as some reputable artists have produced in seven ages.”55 Frankenstein also wrote an extensive review of the exhibition, titled “Wood Pieces Come Alive,” with a large reproduction of Faralla’s Night Gates. He states, “Night Gates might well serve as the portal of a cathedral. Its cathedral-like suggestion is enhanced by the hanging nearby of a votive panel where some 17 small candles flicker their lights among the shadows of the projecting wooden pieces, or are supposed to do so; meanwhile, the great, red coffer across the way might easily find its place in a sacristy, and it is not too fanciful to see in the piece called Circle a crown of thorns.”56

Starting in February that year, Faralla made approximately twenty leather medallions, amulets, and talismans, for men and women, in the shapes of circles, diamonds, crosses, and triangles. These were designed to be worn with a cord around the neck or held in the hand. He gave a talisman to collector and patron Mary Keesling, a member of the Women’s Board at SFMA, and to Valvo, former de Young curator, as well as to other friends. Faralla also made a new series of freestanding boxes with slim square wood sticks that rose out at differing heights, like flowers growing out of a pot. He did not have any exhibitions lined up that year and appears to have taken a break after his retrospective. The year 1968, however, was quite the opposite. Faralla created over one hundred pieces—his most prolific period ever. He started off with three nude studies, drawings on Japanese paper, then made almost fifty pieces over several months, including boxes, chests, books, and cabinets. One box with mirrors, titled Book IV, is inscribed “MLK,” dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., and another, Box IX, is subtitled Nevelsonia: A Parody,

In November, after his show at SFMA, Faralla created a “pilot piece,” or new work, titled Palace I (Archae series), a horizontal wood construction in low relief, painted white. The work was presented on a plinth at eye level, which offered a view of the palace. He made five more horizontal works, all painted white and all titled Archae-Tectonic, numbered with Roman numerals V–X. One had


the shape of a circle with abstract wood noses and five Cross Cruciforms, inspired by Colonial Mexican painted wood crucifixes, which he made on and off through 1971. Faralla was included in the 15th Painting Annual at Richmond Art Center in 1968. Jurors Keith Boyle, Roy De Forest, and William Wiley selected seventy-seven pieces. His work Oval, made in 1961, was the feature image in a review of the show by Elizabeth Polley.58 However, by November Faralla received a letter from Felix Landau in Los Angeles, which stated that after taking photographs of Faralla’s work with him to New York and sharing them with people whose judgment he had confidence in, it was unanimous that Faralla’s wood sculptures were too similar to Nevelson’s and that Landau would not be able to arrange for a show for him there. Landau was very apologetic; Faralla nonetheless felt dejected. The artist wrote back to him, and Landau’s assistant responded that the gallery could not do anything more for him in Los Angeles. It is unclear if Faralla’s response letter changed their relationship—Landau’s original letter had said nothing about not showing his work in Los Angeles.59 In March 1969, Faralla made a large wooden sarcophagus titled Night Vessel, in memory of Edna Stoddart Siegriest. Her husband Louis, or Lou, was like a father to Faralla through the years; he was also a descendant of Italian immigrants. Edna had passed away suddenly of a heart attack in 1966 at the Siegriests’ second home in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The memorial work was originally conceived to be made in bronze to cover her grave. However, that being impractical, Faralla donated it to the Oakland Museum of California (see pp. 92–93). He also decided that summer to donate a piece in Lou’s honor to the citizens of Virginia City, Nevada,

Richard Faralla. Cybernaught X. 1968. Painted wood, 19 1/2 x 12 x 4 inches. Provenance: David Cole (birthday gift); the Landing Gallery, Los Angeles.

also with mirrors. By June, he began a pilot series of Cybernaughts (above) including males positioned like warriors—some with spears— on alabaster bases. He created a Simplex series, consisting of simple wood figures, numbered and with subtitles such as Bathers, Eros, Worshipper, and Sun Idol. He also created four Face reliefs in


and the surrounding area of Storey County to be displayed at the town hall. The work was a wood construction painted black, including glass, titled Cabinet III (1968). Lou had lived in Virginia City for seven years during the 1940s.60 Faralla was also commissioned by the Civic Art Commission in Santa Rosa, California, in 1969 to create a sculpture for their new city hall, a referral that Santa Rosa artist and friend Maurice Lapp had suggested. Other artists under consideration were Florence Dixon, Mary Fuller, Robert McChesney, and Marguerite Wildenhain. Pillar Santa Rosa was a redwood construction approximately ninety-eight inches tall. The piece was dedicated on June 7, 1969, and sited outdoors, where it remains today.61 Over that summer, Faralla spent time in Sonoma County and made a group of small works with titles using names of nearby towns and residential areas, including Occidental, Duncan Mills, Jenner by the Sea, Camp Meeker, Sebastopol, Monte Rio, and Bodega Bay. He also made four small vessels placed on square bases, using wood and glass, one which he gave to Valvo for her birthday the next year. By the end of the summer, Faralla turned his attention to his upcoming solo exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor at Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Curator William Elsner had contacted him the year before, confirming that they would hold a solo show of his work in late 1969 or early 1970. Faralla had planned to take a trip with Louis Siegriest down to Mexico in the fall, so they decided to open the show early the next year. Recent Works by Faralla opened February 7, 1970. Included were thirty sculptures, mostly smaller works. Bloomfield interviewed Faralla in his new basement studio in Pacific Heights shortly before the exhibition opened. The artist was quoted

Commissioned sculpture by Richard Faralla for Santa Rosa City Hall, 1969. Redwood, approximately 90 inches high. Still extant.


as saying, “I don’t consider myself primarily an assemblagist, but I do use materials from all over. I find things on the streets, in the country. I take walks where buildings are being torn down. And people save things for me—I know a clock manufacturer with a warehouse full of boxes . . . I consider myself a romantic,” said Faralla. “I’m fascinated by the idea of stepping beyond, of looking into caves, dark doorways, over the hill . . . things for mad men only.” Regarding his use of the cruciform shape, Faralla stated, “I’ve always loved working with the T shape. Now these pieces are double T, if you look from the top. That, of course is a plus sign, which is a very ancient sign, it dates from way before Christianity. It’s a very elegant form. And, very positive.”62

Thomas Albright reviewed the show in the San Francisco Chronicle. In the review, titled “Faralla’s Elegant Things,” Albright wrote, “How do you follow an act like the exquisite display of ancient Mediterranean jewelry that closed last week at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor? One very good way is to fill the glass cases in the museum’s downstairs vaults with 30 recent sculptures by Faralla.” He describes Faralla’s work as employing “whittled and splintered woods and shreds of glass, small, sometimes minute in scale, gem-like in elegance, part sculpture, part artifact, with one foot in antiquity and the other in the Middle Ages.” He concludes that “ A vague sense of morbidity, of things seen that were not meant to be revealed, lurks beneath the handsome veneer of Faralla’s sculpture.”63 The exhibition’s press release indicates that many of the works were intended to be held in the hand.64 In the spring of 1970, Faralla made a series of ten gate motifs (see image p. 109). He also created more wall reliefs with titles including Mexico, Mitla, and Maison and constructed additional altar pieces, similar to his Archae-Tectonic series. Through the summer, the artist made almost forty Cruciforms, including double-sided ones, black, with mirrors, inspired by Colonial Mexican painted wood crucifixes. He further developed a small standing triptych that he had begun the year before, which he ended up turning into an octagon-shaped shrine titled Homage à Ma Mère (see opposite and pp. 98–99). The chapel included three glass panels with a dark glaze, giving it a smoky quality, and the floor was painted a dark royal blue. In September, he stayed in the town of Camp Meeker in Sonoma County with his friend, student, and collector Ron Clark and makes several pieces, including crosses, using charcoal and clay finished with stones.

Richard Faralla. Homage à Ma Mère. 1970. Painted wood and glass, 20 x 12 x 12 inches. Image courtesy CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate.

In January 1971, Faralla began a SITE series


Richard Faralla, c. 1972, Mission District, San Francisco.

that was a continuation of his Archae-Tectonic series from 1966. He created eight Villas, which included the names of close family and friends such as Villa Dario, Villa Bassi, Villa Luna Valvo.65 In March, he created another series titled Duane Alley Suite that included twenty small wall cruciforms (see pp. 101), and another twenty double-sided freestanding cruciforms (see pp. 104–05).

quite other-worldly, but Faralla also goes in for the timely message business, making a convincing anti-war statement in Warriors, a seven-shelved chest peopled with soldiers from the toy shop.”66 In August and September, Faralla made a Mexican series constructed from door panels eighty inches high and thirty inches wide, similar to his early Relief VIII, made in 1960 (see pp. 106–07). These portal pieces were titled Sinta, Mexicana, and Guanajuato. Sinta was later gifted to the Laguna Art Museum in 1985 by Dr. Bruce Friedman, a proctologist in San Francisco who was one of Faralla’s main patrons for many years. 67 In the fall, Faralla was included in the exhibition Monotypes in California at the Oakland Museum, curated by Therese Heyman. The show included fifty works and surveyed production from the 1880s to 1972. In a review of the show, Albright remarked that “recent examples by Nathan Oliveira, Joseph Zirker

Over the summer, the artist was invited to participate in the exhibition New Works: Seven Bay Area Artists at the Oakland Museum, curated by George Neubert. The show featured works by Jay DeFeo, Fritz Rauh, Fred Reichman, and others. A review by Bloomfield notes, “Faralla works in wood and glass, making neat aesthetic sense with his Gate series, a collection of small shrines, about two feet high, in which carved and broken wood pieces act like linear elements in an abstract design formation. These sculptures seem


Richard Faralla. Milly. 1976. Body print (watercolor on newsprint paper mounted on board), 24 x 36 inches. Private Collection.


and Faralla reveal that the art of monotype is far from dead today.”68

museum mentor John Humphrey. On display were monoprints along with torn and painted corrugated cardboard figures that were mounted to the wall.

FIGURE-IN-MOTION From 1969 to 1975 there were two economic recessions nearly back-to-back. In October 1971, Faralla stopped making wood constructions for a four-year period. In 1972, he moved in with his good friend Lou Siegriest, who had suffered a stroke, to help out for a period of time.69 While living in Oakland, he focused on making works on paper, drawings, monotypes, and cardboard constructions.

In a small brochure accompanying the exhibition, Humphrey detailed how the artist had spent the last four years developing a “new expressive means of the figure-in-motion.” A couple of his early figurative wood works were displayed in the center of the gallery to reference Faralla’s evolution of the human form. Humphrey also wrote, “Faralla honors his close ties to his past by returning to acts of expressing himself through materials of society’s discard and rejection, perhaps the most important fact of all for him. It is certainly one that brings out the most intensely personal expression in a form now seen as quite universal.”72 Frankenstein reviewed the show and pointed out that the work resulted in “a curious combination of violence and richness.”73

In 1974, Faralla returned to teaching figure drawing as an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco’s Academy of Art College (SFAAC). Charles Swerz, a student of Faralla’s who took classes with him there in 1974–75, said that the artist was bold. Swerz also spoke about Faralla’s body print process, where a nude model covered in paint would run past an artist holding a piece of paper and the model would press up against it (see image opposite). This process of “bodies moving in space,” Swerz said, had a high failure rate.70 Writer Nick Mendez referred to these classes as a “Nonsense Laboratory that would draw the best from his students.”71 Swerz had a design firm at the time called Design Alternatives, and Faralla worked with him as a partner to get the business going. Faralla was a father figure to Swerz, who in turn was a loyal patron to Faralla.

In 1976, Faralla was included in a bicentennial survey exhibition, including 199 artists curated by Henry Hopkins. Titled Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era, the show was presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) the same year that the museum changed its name from the San Francisco Museum of Art. This important exhibition followed upon the earlier California survey shows in which Faralla had also been included: The Artist’s Environment and Fifty California Artists, both from 1962, as mentioned above. Faralla’s exhibited work was Column IV, from 1960. The show traveled to the National Collection of Fine Arts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the following year.74

That same year, Faralla participated in an exhibition titled 4 (Four), which featured his work alongside Robert Arneson, Nathan Oliveira, and Louis Siegriest at the Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery in Sonoma County. He also prepared for what would be his last exhibition at the SFMA, which opened in February 1975. The show was curated by his longtime friend and

By the end of the summer in 1976, then sixty years old, Faralla stopped documenting his work in his catalogue. His last sculptures recorded were five


relief constructions, which he dedicated to some of his closest friends. Titles included Homage to Ron Clark, Homage to Lou B. Siegriest, Homage to B.F (Bruce Friedman), and Homage to J.H. (John Humphrey). Faralla moved from San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood to Dolores Heights on Fair Oaks Street and continued to teach at SFAAC. He was known at the academy for his energetic style of teaching, requiring students to draw figures within three minutes—and sometimes only three seconds. He wanted his students to be spontaneous. Other teachers, like Howard Brodie, for whom Faralla would often substitute, did not assign such limited time constraints. Faralla would also have students do two-handed drawings and draw without easels. Lourdes Livingston, one of his students, stated in an interview that “He made us dive in head first.”75

that he was withdrawing from his position as an instructor. There was a miscommunication and Faralla was not given enough classes—two being his minimum—to warrant the commute into San Francisco from Sonoma County. Donald Haight and Richard Stephens, the incoming and outgoing presidents of the academy, sent a letter expressing that they would like to have him return. However, by August that year, a letter came to Faralla from Ronald Young stating that they would only be able to have him teach one class in the spring. Faralla declined to teach the single class and ended his tenure at SFAAC.78 In July, Karen Tsujimoto, curator at SFMOMA, organized a group exhibition titled Resource/ Reservoir: Collage and Assemblage. Among those included from the museum’s permanent collection were Faralla, Wallace Berman, Alberto Burri, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, George Herms, Robert Rauschenberg, Kurt Schwitters, and others.79 Faralla was also included in Sculpture, an exhibition at the Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael in August, which included sixteen artists from Marin and Sonoma Counties, presented in conjunction with the Twelfth International Sculpture Conference. In the fall, he gifted one of his wood crosses to Sister Elizabeth Fries, executive director of the Raphael House, a shelter for the homeless and for women and children fleeing abusive living conditions, which was owned and operated by the Holy Order of MANS spiritual community in San Francisco.80

From 1977 through 1979, Faralla did not participate in any exhibitions. He donated several boxes of ephemera, including photographs, letters, exhibition invitations, and catalogues, to the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, which were received on February 23, 1978. In 1980—although he had been on a waiting list for conventional public housing in San Francisco—he moved to Sebastopol in Sonoma County and sublet his apartment in the city. He donated several books to SFAAC before he left.76 Living in the North Bay, Faralla participated in a group exhibition at the David Cole Gallery in 1980, which had relocated to Inverness. By the spring of 1981, he took a leave of absence from teaching. In September, he was included in an exhibition titled John Bolles Collection at Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery. Faralla’s wood relief sculpture was the featured image on the invitation.77

Early in 1983, Faralla created Ovals using wood and mirror (see pp. 114–15). Through 1984 he made a Grand Barge Suite of at least four large barges, which he constructed in wood and placed on large rectangular pedestals, one with a mirror covering the surface (see p. 29). These were based on the ancient Egyptian solar ships that were buried near the Pyramids of Giza and at many

In April 1982, Faralla wrote a brief note to Christian Schiess, director at SFAAC, indicating


Richard Faralla. Grand Barge Suite. 1984. Painted wood and glass, 7 x 23 x 6 inches. Provenance: William and June Faralla Collection.

other temple sites in Egypt. Also referred to as solar barges, they were thought to be ritual vessels to carry the resurrected king with the sun god Ra across the heavens; they could also be considered funerary barques. Faralla received a handwritten letter from his longtime patron, Friedman, thanking him for one of the barges and the other works that he had purchased that year. Another barge was placed in the collection of Jake and Nancy Hamon in Dallas, Texas, who owned several works by Faralla.81

moving up to Washington State. Bill wrote many letters to his brother in the subsequent years.82 His good friend Arthur Holman had also reached out to him at this time, sending letters inviting him to come visit him in Lagunitas, where they could take strolls in the nearby woods. He thanked Faralla for a visit up to Petaluma to see his Egyptian and Pompeii figures and explained that there was an important figure missing from Faralla’s pantheon— Min, the fertility god, the one that Holman said had “a big wang.” He shared with Faralla that he was getting ready to start a new outer-space painting, In the Constellation of Sagittarius. Holman told Faralla that he felt comfortable and at home with him, and wrote, “Love you lots old buddy.” Holman, who was ten years Faralla’s senior, later helped Faralla make a few of his last constructions. This reconnection for them was important, as they were both getting older and not worrying as much about being in the thick of things.83

In 1984, Faralla began working on his Egyptian Suites (Nile Suite; 1984–90) and a Stele series. In May, he received a letter from his brother Bill, who had reached out to him after many years of no contact. Bill wanted to get together in Petaluma at Volpi’s restaurant, a local Italian gathering spot begun by Italian immigrants. Bill stated, “It’s going to take more than one short get together to scrape off the accumulation of years of neglect, I’m speaking of communication, although I do feel we relate to each other, you just cannot bridge not only the gap of years, but what went on when we were growing up together. Anyway, I’m very happy we found each other again.” Bill noted that his home in Southern California’s Solana Beach was in escrow and that he and his wife June would be

In the summer of 1984, Faralla was given his first solo exhibition at the David Cole Gallery since 1963, titled Faralla: A Decade/Plus. Donald Haight from SFAAC sent Faralla a note thanking him for the invitation to his show and telling


thereafter, he looked up Bruce Tessler, a former graduate student of his at SFAAC. Tessler had recently founded the San Francisco School of Art (SFSA), an atelier on Fourteenth Street near Market and Church Streets, and had invited Faralla to come live with him, share a studio, and teach at his school. Faralla taught gesture drawing every Sunday, one class per semester, with a maximum of fifteen students. In an interview, Tessler said that Faralla was obsessed with whatever he did. He also said that the artist was metaphysical about the body and life and believed that we choose when we are going to die. Tessler collected several of Faralla’s sculptures through the 1980s, including cardboard masks, monoprints, soldiers, and crucifixes.86

Faralla with his work at his 1984 solo exhibition A Decade/Plus at David Cole Gallery in Inverness, CA.

In 1985, Faralla made approximately forty wild and colorful devil monoprints (see image p. 119). The following year, he taught a few one-off classes at SFSA; one of his students, Pierre Merkl, was taken with Faralla and his work and became a close friend and protégé of the artist. In 1987, Faralla moved out of Tessler’s home and into his own apartment in Dolores Park, at the corner of Twentieth and Church Streets. Merkl helped him fix it up, putting blinds on the windows. There, Faralla made small animal constructions and several series, titled Pompeii Suites, Dance Suite, and Warriors. David Cole also curated Faralla: Selected Survey 1960–1987 for Smith Andersen Gallery in Palo Alto that same year.

Faralla that he was missed in San Francisco. Haight stated, “You give so much, not just as an artist but as a person, that it should be hardly surprising that your work is acknowledged.”84 The academy persisted in attempting to sway him to return to teaching, with no luck. During the exhibition, while staying at David Cole’s home/gallery in Inverness, the artist wrote to Gordon Onslow Ford to arrange a studio visit. He brought his good friend and antiquarian book dealer Ruth Walker along.85 Walker owned a bookstore, the Sebastopol Bookshop on Main Street, which Faralla frequented; Ruth would show his work in her storefront. She later displayed Faralla’s work at her second bookstore, Reade Moore Books on Fourth Street in Petaluma, after 1987.

In 1988, Faralla taught several units of his experimental figure drawing class at SFSA. His last class of the semester that year was videotaped from two perspectives, capturing Faralla’s energetic style of teaching.87 Merkl, who was on the production crew, recalls, “He was a commanding presence; many of his instructions were presented as orders, like in the military. His classroom was the stage and [with] Faralla [as the lead], a one-person drama unfolded.” Students

SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL OF ART After the David Cole Gallery show closed in 1984, and after four years living in Sebastopol and Petaluma, Faralla took off on a driving trip through the Southwest. He had told friends that he was heading to Santa Fe in his Volkswagen van. By December 1984, he had returned. Shortly


executed rapid multiple drawings—as many as five per minute. The words “spontaneity” and “quantum physics” were often written on his easel pad. “The process was frantic, yet diligent,” Merkl remembers. Models would run, leap, whirl, and strut from the side to the center of the room, where they would strike a still pose for three seconds. They were also instructed to act out a part, sometimes to move like a specific animal. “Drawings were immediately torn off and fresh sheets replaced—rapidly—or you’d miss the next three-second pose,” Merkl recalled.88

and watercolors of the Petaluma basin and the Old Mill buildings along the riverfront. Many works portrayed the vista of Petaluma from the Apple Box Café deck on B Street. In 1991, Faralla invited some of his former students, including Merkl, to drive up for classes that he would teach along the Petaluma River focused on “exploring the myth of appearance through the medium of drawing.” Merkl recounted that Faralla always said, “I teach to learn.” Merkl also stated, “Faralla frequently cited fervent repetition as an aesthetic principle driving his work,” a concept frequently mentioned in biblical scripture.90 In 1993, Faralla sent his sister-in-law June, in Seattle, a book with drawings of angels that he made during his brother Bill’s illness and medical treatments in 1992. Faralla wrote, “Now you know where my heart was and is. Love, Richard.” He sent another notebook of his Petaluma drawings for their wedding anniversary in 1994.91

In 1988, Faralla had what would be one of his last exhibitions, titled Pompeii Suite by Faralla, at the David Cole Gallery in Inverness, where he displayed approximately forty standing figures, including eleven Portals that he completed between 1985 and 1987 (see pp. 124–26). The reception was well attended, mostly by his students. It was an exciting day for Faralla, at seventy-two years of age, who basked in recognition—without knowing this would be his last formal exhibition during his lifetime. In October 1989, he made another transition after the Loma Prieta earthquake, staying in Sebastopol with friends. He later returned to San Francisco to stay with Merkl for a couple of months before making his last move back up to Petaluma. He moved to a home that he shared with roommates and rented an old chicken coop that he converted to studio space. Faralla then had another prolific period, making several standing figures, including Gladiators, Explorers, Altars, Geometric Triangles, Geometric Squares, and Zulu Shamans. He continued to teach at SFSA, making the commute from Sonoma County down to Mission Street in San Francisco. In 1991, Faralla made a second donation to the Smithsonian of his correspondence, covering the years 1984 to 1989.89 From 1990 until 1994, Faralla made drawings

Richard Faralla. Homage à Dario Circa 1931. 1992. Ink and collage on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches. Faralla Estate.


Installation view of Richard Faralla Memorial Exhibition. San Francisco Academy of Art College, November 1997. Photo: Pierre Merkl.

For at least two years, from 1994 to 1996, Faralla struggled to breathe. He had been a heavy smoker on and off throughout his life, smoking the extralong 100s. He was diagnosed with emphysema and was given an oxygen tank to improve his breathing. In 1996, on August 2, at eighty years old, Faralla passed away while in hospice in Petaluma. He donated his body to science, to the medical school at the University of California, Berkeley.

The following year, his students Don Serif and Merkl organized a memorial exhibition under the auspices of Richard Stephens, chairman of the board and past president of the SFAAC, and Anne C. Lawrence, the director of the academy’s gallery program. Richard Faralla (1916–1996): Sculpture in Wood was presented at the SFAAC art gallery November 3 through November 22, 1997. Faralla’s niece, Maggie Faralla, was in


Installation view of Richard Faralla Memorial Exhibition. San Francisco Academy of Art College, November 1997. Photo: Pierre Merkl.

attendance from Santa Fe, as well as good friends and collectors including Moses Lasky, Arthur Holman, Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery, and Ruth Walker. Others who attended included Mayor Willie Brown, Marci Bowman, Ellen Fortier, Jeanne McKee, Claire Carlevaro of Art Exchange Gallery, Arthur Monroe from Oakland Museum of California, Kathy Kirkpatrick of Grace Cathedral, and many former students. The

Oakland Museum graciously lent Faralla’s Night Vessel sarcophagus, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco loaned his large red Coffer. In total, there were twenty-eight sculptures, including early wall relief pieces, standing sculptures such as a Pilastro, a Cruciform, a Portal, a couple of masks, a Gate, several figurative sculptures, body prints, and pencil landscapes (see images above and opposite). 92


LEGACY The work of Richard Faralla, although widely known and highly considered for a time from the late 1950s into the 1960s and early 70s, is nonetheless hard to place in the continuum of the late twentieth-century Bay Area art world. It is important to note that while the Funk Art movement was in full swing in the Bay Area throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Faralla was not an active part of it. Art historian Sophie Dannenmuller, in her PhD dissertation “The Art of Assemblage in California,” makes the following distinction: “[Faralla’s] reliefs made with scraps of wood fit in a completely different category of assemblage, which is usually reduced to ‘found object,’ ‘Beat,’ or ‘neo-Dada’ style of assemblage. Faralla’s vocabulary is more sculptural and formal and has nothing to do with that of Herms, Conner, or Kienholz, even though he uses found, preexisting, non-art material which defines ‘assemblage.’” She continues, “I think his work relates to Knud Merrild’s constructions, and to Piet Mondrian’s paintings (in relief), as well as to Seymour Locks’s nail sculptures, in that he creates a visual rhythm in which the eyes and mind are invited to travel and to explore like a landscape, or an aerial fantastic cityscape.”93

and the Modern Institute of Art in Beverly Hills in 1948.94 Faralla may have viewed Merrild’s work while living in Los Angeles in the 1930s. The most obvious influence for Faralla was Nevelson. Like Faralla, she was also a late bloomer, starting her signature wood sculptures in her forties in the 1950s. A predecessor to Nevelson was American artist Vaclav Vytlacil who taught at the Art Students League of New York. From 1935 to 1939, Vytlacil made a series of wall reliefs with wood pieces titled Constructions, one of which was attached to a door.95 Another interesting link with Vytlacil is with Bay Area artist Mayo Beckford Young, who was from Petaluma. Young spent a summer in Italy in 1934 studying with Vytlacil, who also taught summer sessions at California College of Arts and Crafts in 1935 and 1936.96 Young made an assembled wood sculpture in 1937 using a door which he also titled Construction.97 Faralla’s work, both his paintings and sculptures, carries a spiritual light and the weight of his Italian ancestry. His audience loved his attention to detail and use of simple materials, although they were often left curious about exactly what he was attempting to achieve in terms of American art. Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro, who was using strips of wood in his cement wall reliefs in the 1950s, was a pivotal influence, as discussed above. Alberto Giacometti, who loved the human figure, was an artist Faralla greatly respected. Giacometti had his first major retrospective at the Guggenheim in 1955 and his first exhibition in San Francisco at SFMA in the spring of 1966, just months after the Swiss artist’s death and only months before Faralla had his six-year survey at SFMA in August. Faralla also looked to early Byzantine, Christian, and Egyptian cultures for inspiration, making dozens of crosses and steles.

Dannenmuller’s reference to Merrild, a Danishborn painter who arrived in Los Angeles in 1923, is an important one. Merrild is recognized as the first artist in California to create assemblages. He began a series of painted wood constructions with a mix of cut-out and attached forms around 1930 and made a minimalist relief construction painted all white titled Veritas in 1933. Merrild exhibited these abstract reliefs in 1933 at the Stanley Rose Book Shop on Vine Street in Hollywood, which was a gathering place for the literati of the movie industry. Merrild had exhibitions at the Hollywood Gallery of Modern Art in 1935 and one-man shows at SFMA in 1937


Over his lifetime, Faralla made approximately one thousand works, of which six hundred sculptures were documented in his catalogue. He probably made another hundred in the 1980s that were undocumented. Approximately two hundred are paintings from around 1943 to 1960, of which only a handful have been identified to date. A few important larger works are still not located as of this printing. Faralla also traded with many artists, including Jeremy Anderson, John Baxter, Roy De Forest, Tony DeLap, Maurice Lapp, David Simpson, and others. His gifts of works were many, to George Culler, Arthur Holman, John Humphrey, Fred Martin, William Morehouse, Amalia de Schulthess, Louis Siegriest, Lundy Siegriest, Edna Stoddart, Ninfa Valvo, Ruth Weiss, and many others. His most loyal collectors included John Bolles, Monte and Diane Clark, David Cole, David Davies, Bruce Friedman, Jake L. Hamon, Howard I. Jacobs, Mary Keesling, Moses Lasky, Harry Lockard, Nick Madiera, Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery, William Roth, Charles Swerz, Julius Wasserstein, and more.

and when the art world began turning itself on its head. His transition from painting to sculpture gave him the freedom to express himself beyond still life and landscapes, to use his intuition, employing conceptual aesthetics to make sense of the modern world. Looking back on his fifty-year career, Faralla consistently made his works with a sense of generosity, as if he were constructing offerings to give to those he admired and loved. He lived his life from moment to moment, being conscious that each breath is a gift, a mantra that served him through difficult times. He also had a modest ecological ethos, using found materials, driftwood, and scrap woods from construction sites to assemble elegant symbols of beauty and simplicity, honoring antiquity while exploring human nature. Richard Faralla’s artworks are currently in the collections of the SFMOMA, the Oakland Museum of California, and the M. H. de Young Museum, all in the SF Bay Area, as well as in the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art at the University of Las Vegas. In addition, the red Coffer and a large crucifix, both made in 1963, remain on permanent display at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. The artist has been gone now for more than twenty-five years and has not had a retrospective since 1966, over fifty years ago. With this monograph, it is hoped that Richard Faralla will be reconsidered, and that, taken as a whole, his fifty years of work will be acknowledged through further scholarship and opportunities for exhibitions of post–World War II era Bay Area artists.

As many artists did in the 1950s and 1960s, Faralla had financial patrons who would give him a monthly allowance to survive, including Bruce Friedman, Harry Lockard, and Nick Madiera. Lou and Edna Siegriest’s home in Oakland always offered a place to stay and a meal. In a radio interview in 2012, Faralla’s niece, Maggie, relayed that Faralla would often say, “You find out who you really are through your work,” and, “Staying in the arts takes guts.” Faralla had the guts, and his art was most certainly his saving grace, given his life circumstances. He also said, “There’s a natural reluctance to reveal oneself,” which might explain some of the mystery around the religious nature of his work and his sexual orientation.98

NOTES: 1. Dario Faralla, naturalization papers list Nancy Schmit, his wife, born in Denmark. Ancestry.com, April 16, 2019. 2. Dario Faralla worked for Republic Pictures (founded 1935) as per Eva and Aldo Faralla, Dario’s cousins

Faralla was a single gay male in his mid-forties in 1959 when he started making his sculptures—


who live on Coronado Island, CA. Interview with the author, June 2019. Dario Faralla produced two films with Paramount Pictures in 1936 Border Flight and The Return of Sophie Lang. See print ad online, “1936 Ad Dario Faralla William T. Lackey Paramount Films— ORIGINAL MOVIE,” Period Paper, accessed February 8, 2021, https://www.periodpaper.com/collections/ vintage-advertising-art/products/1936-ad-dario-farallawilliam-t-lackey-paramount-films-original-advertising043415-movie-080. Dario Faralla also produced three Spanish-language films as Dario Productions, which were distributed by Paramount Pictures in 1937–39. See IMDB, accessed April 17, 2019, https://www.imdb.com/ name/nm0267075/. 3. Pasadena Art Institute, loan form, 1946, Richard Faralla Papers, 1927–1984, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC [hereafter RFP]. 4. “Record of Marriages for Eastchester in Westchester, New York. August 20, 1944,” Ancestry.com, accessed April 18, 2019. 5. Scrapbook notice, Estate of Richard Faralla, Santa Fe, NM. 6. Pasadena Art Institute, loan form signed and dated May 15, 1946, RFP. Virginia Stewart, “Pasadena Art Institute, Broader Scope of Art Instruction Planned Next Autumn,” Pasadena Star News, May 19, 1946, RFP. 7. Helen Wurdermann, typed letter dated April 14, 1946, RFP. 8. Municipal Art Commission, Los Angeles, exhibition at the Greek Theater, Griffith Park, October 20–November 3, 1946, exhibition brochure, RFP. 9. On Faralla’s Los Angeles debut, see A. M., “Gallery Exhibition Listings,” Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2019, 1946, RFP. 10. S. MacDonald Wright, form letter dated 1947, invitation to participate jury free in exhibition at the Hall of Art in Beverly Hills, California, exhibition dates October 2–10, 1947, RFP. 11. Stewart, “Pasadena Art Institute.” 12. Pierre Merkl, interview with the author, location confidential, July 24, 2018. 13. Faralla was a registered Democrat in 1948. Ancestry. com, accessed April 16, 2019. 14. R. H. Hagen, “California State Fair’s Art Award,” 1952, quote from article, “D. Faralla of the Art League of California, San Francisco, Won the $125 First Prize in the Private School Oil Competition.” The award was given for his painting Interior with Leaves, which became property of the State Agriculture Society’s permanent collection, RFP.

15. Alexander Fried, “Five Local Painters Pass Test of Quality,” Pictorial Review, The San Francisco Examiner, April 13, 1952, 17, RFP. 16. Exhibition announcement, Religious Art by California Artists at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park, 1952, RFP. 17. CSFA Alumni Association, letter thanking Dick for organizing the Italy Print Show, dated April 20, 1954, RFP. 18. Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery, interview with the author, Weed, CA, January 21–22, 2019. 19. Dorothy Walker, “The Art World: He’s Leaving S. F. to Get Fresh Ideas,” San Francisco News, May 11, 1957, 10, RFP. 20. Frances Holt, executive secretary to Jones at the ICA Boston, typed letter, dated January 31, 1958, RFP. 21. Jack and Jane Weidele, letters dated August 19, 1957, November 30, 1957, and March 25, 1958 from Telegraph Hill Art Gallery, Santa Francisco, RFP. 22. Richard Stevens, Western Union Telegram from the San Francisco Academy of Art, dated March 11, 1958, RFP. 23. Letter to Arthur S. Holman from D. Faralla, dated October 14, 1958, confirming Holman’s inclusion in a group exhibition. The letter is very formal and it’s likely that they first met through the organization of this show, John Bolles Gallery Records, 1958–1975, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. 24. New Work from Italy exhibition in San Francisco, February 21–March 30, 1961. The show traveled to New York in November 1961 for the opening of the new Bolles Gallery in New York City. New Work from Italy (San Francisco: Bolles Gallery, 1961). Thanks to Federico Fiani, curator at the Pomodoro Foundation in Milano, Italy, for this source. See also, “Art Gallery to Open with Italian Display,” The New York Times, October 29, 1961, https://www.nytimes.com/1961/10/29/archives/artgallery-to-open-with-italian-display.html. 25. Federico Fiani (curator at the Pomodoro Foundation in Milan, Italy), email correspondence with the author, March 19, 2019. 26. Elyse Deeb Speaks, “Experiencing Louise Nevelson’s Moon Garden,” American Art 21, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 97, https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/ pdf/10.1086/521891. 27. Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery, interview with the author, Weed, CA, January 21–22, 2019. 28. Laura Whitcomb, “Floating Gallery: David Cole’s Gallery on the S.S. Vallejo.” S.S. Vallejo: 1949–1969, exh. cat. (Sonoma: Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 2018), 45. Exhibition catalogue published on the occasion of


the exhibition at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, California, April 28–June 10, 2018. 29. Faralla kept a catalogue of his works with drawings and a numbering system from 1959 through 1976. Relief V, Relief VI, Relief VII, Relief VIII, and Relief IX are his first sculptures in his catalogue, page 1, RFP [hereafter Faralla catalogue]. 30. Night Gates (Metric series; 1961), dedicated to the memory of Frances Starr. Faralla catalogue, 57, states that the work was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Howard I. Jacobs. Five Star Final, the film, featured Francis Starr and was based on the play with the same name that was a Broadway hit in 1930–31, which Starr also was featured in. “Five Star Final,” Wikipedia, accessed April 18, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Star_Final. 31. A. J. Bloomfield, “Paintings Waiting to Hit You: Meanwhile,” S. F. News-Call Bulletin, March 14, 1961, 43, RFP. 32. Herschel B. Chipp, “San Francisco,” ARTnews, Summer 1961, 48, RFP. In this review of the San Francisco Art Institute sculpture annual, including Bay Area sculptors, “Constructions of exceptional interest were Alvin Light, Charles Ross, Arlo Acton, Bruce Conner, Mel Henderson and Faralla.” 33. Diptych (1962) was acquired by Howard I. Jacobs, Faralla catalogue, 77. Image from the Estate of Richard Faralla, Santa Fe, NM. 34. Francesca (Votive), made in 1962, was acquired by San Francisco trial lawyer Moses Lasky, who became the board president of SFMA in 1963, Faralla catalogue, 78. 35. Circle 1961 was deaccessioned by Stanford University Art Museum in 2006, sold through Bonhams, see https:// www.bonhams.com/auctions/14000/lot/6082/. 36. See the review of “Arts of the Bay Area” summer show at SFMA, John Coplans, “Angel-Hipsterism, Beat and Z versus New Materials,” Artforum, September 1962, 39–42, RFP. 37. John Canaday, “Visitors from the West,” The New York Times, October 28, 1962, RFP. 38. Frederick Wight, The Artist’s Environment: West Coast, exh. cat. (Fort Worth, TX: The Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, 1962), 50–51. 39. Oval 1963, Faralla catalogue, 97. 40. Alfred Frankenstein, “Faralla’s Driftwood and Spikey Sculpture,” 1963, undocumented newspaper clipping, RFP. Review of solo exhibition at M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park, August 29– September 29, 1963. The exhibition included a small four-page brochure with four images, RFP. 41. Review of show at David Stuart Galleries, Constance Perkins, “Faralla Wood Art Impresses,” Los Angeles Times,

October 21, 1963, Galleries section, RFP. 42. Jerry Adams, “Director George Culler Talks Candidly about the San Francisco Museum’s Finances, Its Location, Gaps in the Collection and His Own Tastes in Art,” Pictorial Living, The San Francisco Examiner, special insert, “Our Modern Art Museum: Director George D. Culler Answers Its Critics,” January 27, 1963, RFP. 43. Jermayne MacAgy (1914–64) was an American art museum specialist and professor. She received her BA in art history from Radcliffe College in 1935. The exhibition Art Has Many Facets: The Artistic Fascination with the Cube included Faralla’s work Night Gates, featured at the Catholic University of St. Thomas in Houston, March 23–May 12, 1963. 44. Fred Martin, “The Art of the West Coast of the United States,” Art and Australia, August 1963, 84–87, RFP. 45. Martin, “The Art of the West Coast of the United States,” 84–87. 46. David Simpson, No. 11 Wind Stripes, 1962, oil on canvas, 51 1/8 in. x 22 1/2 in., donated to SFMOMA in 1981, gift of Richard Faralla in memory of John Humphrey. David Simpson, interview with the author, Berkeley, CA, January 25, 2019. 47. Moses Lasky, the outgoing chair at SFMA in 1964, later referred to Elise as the grande dame, “one of those people who makes a community proud of itself.” Obituary for Elise Stern Hass, San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 1990, http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/roho/ ucb/text/haas_elise_stern__w.pdf. Oval, from the Metric series, 1961, Gift of the Women’s Board to SFMA in 1962. See https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/62.3429/. 48. Letter from Golden Gateway apartments confirming purchase of Oval (1963), Faralla catalog, 56. 49. Art Bank 64/66 (San Francisco: Art Association of the San Francisco Art Institute, 1966), 32–33. Thanks to Leah Levy, The Jay DeFeo Foundation, for this source. 50. White on White: Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, Drawing, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, October 10–November 21, 1965; traveled to the Danforth Museum in Lincoln, MA, https://decordova.org/sites/ default/files/D/deCordovaExh1950–2011.pdf. 51. Berit Potter, “Grace McCann Morley: Defending and Diversifying Modern Art,” SFMOMA (website), June 2017, https://www.sfmoma.org/essay/grace-mccannmorley-defending-and-diversifying-modern-art/. In a 1910 census, Joseph Valvo, Ninfa’s father, was married to Patterma with one child, Ninfa. In a 1940 Census, Ninfa Valvo was forty-two years old and lived with her mother Catherine (Kate) and sister Julia. Ancestry.com, accessed April 16, 2019; Postcard from Ninfa to Dick, “To, dear


Dick my love and best wishes always. You are ever in my thoughts and heart darling. Ninfa,” RFP. 52. David Simpson, interview with the author, Berkley, CA, January 2019; Bruce Tessler, interview with the author by telephone, June 2019; Eva and Aldo Faralla, interview with the author, Coronado Island, CA, June 2019. 53. H. J. Weeks, 2 Dimensional Sculpture, 3 Dimensional Painting, March 11 to April 17, 1966, Richmond Art Center, accompanied by a thirty-page catalogue; Faralla catalogue, 12. Thanks to Amy Spencer at the Richmond Art Center for this source. 54. George Culler, Faralla (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1966). This exhibition of the artist’s work covered the years 1959 through 1965. 55. Arthur Bloomfield, “Faralla Gets Art out of the Woods,” San Francisco Examiner, Lively Arts, 1966, RFP. 56. Alfred Frankenstein, “Wood Pieces Come Alive,” S. F. Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, 1966, 24, RFP. Frankenstein gets Francesca wrong and says it has 17 candles, not 19. 57. For a timeline of 1967, see https://www.timelines. ws/20thcent/1967.HTML. 58. See the review of 15th Painting Annual at Richmond Art Center, Elizabeth Polley, “High Quality Show in Richmond,” ca. 1966, undocumented newspaper clipping, RFP. 59. Felix Landau, letter to Faralla dated November 7, 1968, RFP, “I took the photographs of your pieces to New York and showed them to Charles Alan and several other people in whose judgement I have a great deal of confidence. The unanimous opinion of all these people was that a show of this work in New York at this time would be a disaster for all of us involved. The tendency of New York critics and the art public to compare new work which has similarities to other things and to the work of already well-known artists is so great that everybody felt that all we would hear would be unpleasant comparisons with Louise Nevelson. I’m afraid that I have been convinced by these arguments and feel that it would be a great mistake for us to go ahead with a New York show. I am very unhappy to have to write you this. You know that I have the greatest personal regard for you. I know that this letter will be received by you with great disappointment, but I am unable to do anything else in this matter. Yours, Felix Landau.” 60. George W. Neubert, letter dated December 8, 1971, RFP. This letter is from the Oakland Museum thanking Faralla for his gift of Night Vessel in memorial of Edna Stoddard (Siegriest), a lifelong resident of Oakland. Faralla also received a certificate from them. Email from Suzanne Westaway to Patricia Watts re: bronze sarcophagus for

Edna’s grave, August 4, 2019. Shirley Andreasen, county clerk, Virginia City, Nevada, wrote a letter to Faralla acknowledging his gift of Cabinet III (1968) in honor of Lou Siegriest, RFP. 61. Jack Ryersen, mayor, City of Santa Rosa, letter of confirmation regarding the dedication of Faralla’s work at Site No. 6, Pillar, Santa Rosa, dated June 2, 1969, RFP. Faralla received $2,400 for the commission, which was a generous sum in 1969. Faralla catalog, 274. 62. Arthur Bloomfield, “The Romantic Whittler: Sculptor Faralla and Some of His T-Formation Pieces, to Show at Legion of Honor,” undocumented publication, January 25, 1970, RFP. 63. Thomas Albright, “A Handful for Sculpture: Faralla’s Elegant Things,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, 1970, RFP. 64. Albright, “A Handful for Sculpture.” 65. SITE X XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XVI, XVII, XVIII (all 1971), are all named after close friends, who they were probably given to. Faralla catalogue, 314–16, RFP. 66. Arthur Bloomfield, “Artistic Fresh Air: A Show that’s Not New or Chic, Just Good,” San Francisco Examiner, July 29, 1971, RFP. 67. Sinta (1971), made with painted wood, glass, and gypsum with ochre and tar washes was gifted by Bruce Friedman to the Laguna Art Museum in 1985. See https:// lagunaartmuseum.org/artist/richard-faralla/; Faralla catalogue, 331. Friedman was a proctologist and Faralla’s main patron for over twenty years. Friedman would also do showings at his home of the artist’s monoprints. 68. Thomas Albright, “The Monotype—An Elite Medium,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 3, 1972. Review of print show at the Oakland Museum curated by Teresa Heyman, October 17–December 19, 1972, RFP. 69. Suzanne and Laurelle Westaway, email and phone correspondence with the author, August 3–4, 2019. 70. Charles Swerz, interview with the author, New York, July 18, 2018. 71. Nick Mendez, “Nonsense Laboratory, Draws Best from Students,” undocumented publication, n.d., RFP. 72. Solo exhibition titled Faralla at the San Francisco Museum of Art, February 14–April 6, 1975; brochure with essay by John Humphrey, curator, RFP. Humphrey retired in 1978 after twenty years at SFMA; he was good friends with Faralla and donated three pieces as anonymous gifts to SFMOMA in 1981, the year he passed away, including Relief (1963), Homage à J.H. (1976), and Untitled (1970). 73. Alfred Frankenstein, “Brilliant Color and Raw Fury,” undocumented newspaper, March 1975, RFP. 74. Henry Hopkins, Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of


Modern Art, 1976), 139. 75. Lourdes Livingston, telephone conversation with the author, June 2019. 76. San Francisco Housing Authority, letter dated March 10, 1982, RFP; Michael Woods, director of Fine Arts Department, letter dated August 24, 1978, thanking Richard for a generous donation of art books to the school library at The San Francisco Academy of Art College (SFAAC), RFP. 77. John Bolles Collection, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, September 25–October 22, 1981, exhibition invitation, RFP. 78. Faralla, handwritten letter to Christian Schiess, director at the Academy of Art College, San Francisco, dated April 22, 1982; letter from Donald Haight, director, Fine Arts Department, and Richard Stephens, dated June 11, 1982; Ronald Young, director of Fine Arts, letter to Faralla dated August 30, 1982, all RFP. 79. Resource/Reservoir: Collage and Assemblage, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 30–September 26, 1983; accompanying brochure with text by Karen Tsujimoto, RFP. 80. Thank you letter from Sister Elizabeth Fries, executive director of Raphael House, November 7, 1983, RFP. 81. Bruce Friedman, handwritten letter to Faralla, dated October 12, 1984, RFP. Another barge, Grand Bargo, was purchased by Jake and Nancy Hamon; it sold at auction September 2012, at Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas, see https://fineart.ha.com/itm/a-duane-raoul-farallaamerican-1916–1996-wood-and-mirror-sculpture-grandbargo-san-fran/a/5101–87963.s. 82. William “Bill” Faralla, letter from Faralla’s brother to “Bud,” dated May 24, 1984, RFP. 83. Arthur Holman, two letters dated April 19 and May 21, no year [probably 1984]. Holman talks about Faralla’s Egyptian sculptures and mentions paintings he’s working on that are dated 1984–85; Holman also mentioned Faralla’s upcoming show: Faralla showed his Egyptian sculptures at David Cole Gallery in Inverness near Holman’s home in summer 1984, RFP. 84. Donald Haight, director, Fine Arts Department Academy of Art College, San Francisco, typed letter to Richard Faralla, dated July 5, 1984, RFP. 85. Gordon Onslow Ford, handwritten note confirming studio visit on August 16, 1984, dated August 1, 1984, RFP. 86. Bruce Tessler, interview with the author, Alameda, CA, January 3, 2019. 87. Faralla’s Experimental Figure Drawing class, the last of the semester, 1988, video shot by Pierre Merkl. Merkl Archive, San Francisco.

88. Pierre Merkl, interview with the author, location confidential, July 24, 2018. 89. See RFP, https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/richardfaralla-papers-7247. 90. Class flyer from Merkl Archive, Pierre Merkl, interview with the author, Location confidential, July 24, 2018. 91. Estate sale of works owned by William and June Faralla, sketch books and handwritten notes sold at auction, MBA Seattle Auction, November 30, 2017, Renton, Washington, see https://www.liveauctioneers. com/item/57653893_richard-faralla-1916–1996california-two-sketchbooks. 92. Papers from Faralla memorial exhibition at SFAAC art gallery, November 3–November 22, 1997, Merkl Archive, Location confidential. 93. Email communication between Sophie Dannenmuller and Sonja Marck, Gallery 8 San Francisco, October 8, 2008; Faralla Estate, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 94. Marshall N. Price, Knud Merrild: Only the Impossible Keeps Us Alive, exh. cat. (Bloomington, IL: Original Smith Printing, 2008). Published by Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, on the occasion of the exhibition Knud Merrild, November 3–December 20, 2008. More examples of his constructions online, “Knud Merrild,” Sullivan Goss, July 20, 2019, https://www.sullivangoss.com/artists/ knud-merrild-1894–1954. 95. Vaclav Vytlacil: Paintings and Constructions from 1930, Montclair Art Museum, November 16, 1975 to January 25, 1976, catalogue with essay by Lawrence Campbell. See Construction, 1938–39, painted wood, 80 x 30 inches, page 7. 96. Vaclav Vytlacil’s biography on askART states that Vytlacil was influenced by his friend and former student, Rupert Turnbull, to make his constructions when Vytlacil returned from Italy to live in New York in 1935. “Vaclav Vytlacil,” askART, accessed May 7, 2019, http: //www. askart.com/artist_bio/Vaclav_Vytlacil/30101/Vaclav_ Vytlacil.aspx; Regarding wood source near Vytlacil’s studio, see “Vaclav Vytlacil,” Smithsonian American Art Museum, accessed May 8, 2019, https://americanart. si.edu/artist/vaclav-vytlacil-5185; and his gallery bio, “Vaclav Vytlacil,” Caldwell Gallery, accessed May 8, 2019, http: //origin.www.caldwellgallery.com/artists/vaclavvytlacil/biography. 97. Construction (1937) by Mayo Beckford Young can be seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, on permanent display, https:// americanart.si.edu/artist/beckford-young-5519. 98. Interview with Maggie Faralla, Faralla’s niece, by Bob Ross on KSFR radio, Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 10, 2012.




Casein on cigarette foil, 25 x 30 inches CONVERSO, Chicago



Casein on cigarette foil, 25 x 30 inches Oakland Museum of California; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Bolles


RELIEF VI 1959–60

Wood, painted white, 45 x 78 inches Private Collection


Wood relief painted black, 60 x 36 inches Private Collection



Wood with latex, 80 x 30 x 2 3/4 inches San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Roth, 1974



Driftwood with black paint, 41 x 11 x 3 inches Private Collection; Provenance: Gift to brother William Faralla, 1964



Boxwood relief painted black, 56 x 23 1/2 inches Private Collection



Wood relief painted black, 51 x 51 inches Private Collection



Polychrome paint and wood with black wash, 34 inches high Private Collection; Provenance: William Jarrett



Wood, 13 1/2 x 7 inches Private Collection



Wood, painted ochre with black wash, 9 x 7 1/4 inches Private Collection; Provenance: Gift to Lou Siegriest



Wood painted black, 10 inches diameter Private Collection



Wood, painted, 16 inches high; top originally painted ochre, repainted blue and renamed 1983. Private Collection



Wood assemblage, with paint, 5 1/2 x 5 1/4 Private Collection



Wood relief painted red with black wash, 7 1/2 inches diameter (approx.) Private Collection


1961 sketch of Circle or Pisces I (metric Series) from Faralla’s personal catalogue of works



Wood construction painted black, 36 inch diameter Former Collection of Stanford Art Museum



Wood relief painted black with blue wash, 11 1/4 inches diameter Private Collection


1961 sketch of Moon Dial from Faralla’s personal catalogue of works


CB II 1960s

6 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 inches (sliding lid not pictured) Private Collection


CHEST 1962

Wood construction painted black and polished 5 1/4 x 10 x 7 inches Private Collection



Wood construction painted red with black wash finish, 14 1/4 x 7 inches Private Collection



Wood construction painted white, 5 1/4 x 12 1/2 inches Private Collection; Provenance: Collection of Lou Siegriest



Wood construction with black wash (free standing), 14 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches Provenance: William and June Faralla Collection


BOOK I 1963

Wood, mirror, black paint 8 1/2 x 14 x 1 inches Calabi Gallery, Santa Rosa, California


PILASTRO I BIANCO 1963 [full work opposite; detail above]

Wood construction painted white, approx. 94 inches high Private Collection


DIPTYCH 1964 [detail above; full work opposite]

Wood construction, 72 x 48 inches Private Collection; Provenance: Elise Stern Haas



Wood construction painted black with red wash, 18 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches Private Collection



Wood painted white, 36 inches diameter Private Collection



Wood construction painted black, 14 x 12 inches Private Collection; Provenance: Harry Lockard



Wood painted black with blue, 15 3/4 x 14 x 2 1/2 inches Private Collection



Painted wood, 12 x 12 inches Faralla Estate



Wood painted black with orange and yellow oxide, 14 inches diameter Private Collection



Wood construction, 9 x 9 x 1 3/4 inches Private Collection



Wood with black paint, 12 x 11 inches Private Collection



Mixed media, 10 3/4 x 6 inches Provenance: Gift to Gerry Siegriest



Mixed media with red horizontal on black, 10 1/4 x 11 inches Provenance: William and June Faralla Collection



Paper, egg cartons, wood, latex paint, and sand, 11 3/4 x 10 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches San Francisco Museum of Modern Art



Wood construction, 13 x 13 x 4 inches Private Collection



Painted wood assemblage, 20 x 5 x 12 inches the Landing Gallery, Los Angeles



Painted wood 22 x 11 1/2 x 6 inches Private Collection



Wood construction with nails and glass, painted black, 11 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches Private Collection


CABINET VI 1968 [alternate view]



Wood and glass assemblage, 12 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches



Wood and mirror, 6 1/4 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches Private Collection. Provenance: Gift to Lou Siegriest, 1970



Painted wood, mirror, tile, and plastic, 11 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches Private Collection



Painted wood construction with glass, 6 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches Private Collection



Dedicated to the Memory of Edna Stoddard Siegriest Painted wood with blue wash, silver name plate, 80 x 32 x 14 inches Oakland Museum of California; Gift of the Artist



Wood painted with white tempera, 10 x 10 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate



Wood painted with red tempera, 14 x 8 inches Faralla Estate


architectonic 1969

Wood and blue tempera, 10 x 10 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate



Painted wood, glass, tile, 7 1/2 inches diameter Private Collection



Painted wood and glass 20 x 12 x 12 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate


HOMAGE À MA MÈRE (OCTAGON SHRINE) [interior view from above] 1970



Wood painted white, 22 x 13 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches Private Collection



Wood painted umber with white wash, 14 x 7 x 1 1/4 inches Provenance: Gift to Suzanne Westaway



Wood with blue green wash, 13 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches Private Collection



Wood painted ochre with black wash, mirror, 13 1/2 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches Private Collection



Painted wood, 20 1/2 x 9 x 3 inches Faralla Family Collection


STANDING CRUCIFORM NO. 33 1971 [detail]


MEXICANA DOOR 1972 [detail above; full work opposite]

Cardboard, tar, and paint, 80 x 30 x 2 inches Private Collection


XXXIX 1972

Casein on paper, 13 x 10 inches Private Collection



Tempera on wood, 22 x 6 x 5 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate



Wood with black paint, 12 x 12 x 1 1/4 inches



Wood painted white with umber wash, 26 1/2 x 11 x 5 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate



Wood with white paint, 5 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 1 3/4 inches Private Collection



Painted wood, 14 x 4 7/8 x 1 1/2 inches Private Collection


Sebastopol Reflections Oval 1983

Painted wood and mirror, 21 1/2 x 15 inches Private Collection


Sebastopol/Summer Oval 1983

Painted wood and mirror, 21 1/2 x 15 inches Private Collection



Painted wood with blue wash, 78 3/4 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches Private Collection



Tempera on wood, 21 x 5 x 3 inches Faralla Estate


TABLET NO. 6 1985

Wood construction with paint, 16 x 9 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches VENTURA, Palm Springs; Provenance: Gift to David Cole


DEVIL 1985

Monotype and collage on paper, 24 x 18 inches (approx.) Faralla Estate


CENTAUR #40 1983

Painted wood, 19 x 7 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches Private Collection


Simplex Series, NO III (ANUBIS) I, 1986

Painted wood, 23 3/4 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches Private Collection



Painted wood, 20 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches Faralla Estate



Painted wood, 20 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches



Painted wood and glass, 7 x 23 x 6 inches Provenance: William and June Faralla Collection



Tempera on wood, 17 1/2 x 9 x 5 inches Faralla Estate



Wood and tempera, 22 1/2 x 11 x 5 1/2 inches Image courtesy of CONVERSO, Chicago; Faralla Estate



Wood and tempera, 22 1/2 x 11 x 6 inches Faralla Estate


NUMBER 11 1985

Wood and tempera, 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 1 1/2 Provenance: William and June Faralla Collection



Painted wood, 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches Private Collection



Tempera on wood, 9 x 13 x 2 inches Faralla Estate



Painted wood with white wash, 7 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches Provenance: Gift to Arthur Holman, 1992, Courtesy of the Arthur Holman Estate



Painted wood, 3 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches Private Collection



Painted wood construction, 6 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches Private Collection



Burnt wood construction with red wash, 27 x 13 1/2 inches [Full image on cover] Private Collection


MASK 1988

Cardboard with ochre paint, 32 x 20 x 9 1/2 inches Private Collection


POMO 1989

Painted wood, 38 x 9 inches


richard faralla (1916–1996) EDUCATION 1955, BFA, California School of Fine Arts (later San Francisco Art Institute), 1955 1957, Graduate studies, San Francisco State College

1970 Recent Works, California Palace of The Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco 1975 Faralla, San Francisco Museum of Art, curated by John Humphrey (brochure) 1984 Faralla: A Decade Plus, David Cole Gallery, Inverness, California 1987 Faralla: Selected Survey 1960–1987. Smith Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto. Curated by David Cole. 1988 Faralla: Pompeii Suite, David Cole Gallery, Inverness, California 1997 Richard Faralla (1916–1996): Sculpture in Wood, San Francisco Academy of Art College Gallery 2009 Richard Faralla: Small Scale Constructs, The 8 Gallery, San Francisco 2012 Richard Faralla, David Richards Gallery, Santa Fe

TEACHING Academy of Advertising Art (San Francisco Academy of Art), 1955 Ursuline Academy for Girls, Boston, 1958–1959 Academy of Art College, 1970s, 1980s San Francisco School of Art, 1980s AWARDS AND PRIZES 1952 California State Fair Purchase Award, Sacramento 1953 Adele Hyde Morrison Award, Silver Medal, TwentyFirst Fall Annual, Oakland Art Gallery 1956 Second Annual Jack London Square Art Festival for abstract watercolor, Oakland 1962 Purchase Award, Stanford University Art Gallery, Palo Alto 1963–64 Purchase Award, Oakland Museum of Art

GROUP EXHIBITIONS 1952 Religious Art by California Artists, M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 1952 First Annual Pacific Art Festival, Oakland Exposition Building 1952 Fifth Annual exhibition, California Palace of the Legion of Honor 1952 Twentieth Annual Exhibition: Water Colors, Pastels, Drawing and Prints, Oakland Art Gallery, Municipal Auditorium 1952 Sixteenth Annual Watercolor Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial, Civic Center 1952 Annual Exhibition, Oil Paintings and Sculpture, Oakland Art Gallery 1952 Seventy-first Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association 1952 First Annual Pacific Art Festival, Exposition Building, Oakland 1953 Twenty-First Fall Annual Exhibition of Watercolors, Pastels, Drawings and Prints, Oakland Art Museum 1953 Seventeenth Annual Watercolor Exhibition, San Francisco Art Assocation, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial, Civic Center 1953 Seventy-Second Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial, Civic Center 1953 Eighteenth Annual Watercolor Exhibition, San Francisco Art Assocation, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial, Civic Center 1953 Art Fair for Young People, Gumps Gallery, San Francisco

COMMISSIONS 1964 Elise Stern Haas, Atherton, California 1969 City of Santa Rosa (California), Civic Center, City Hall 1970 David Davies, New York SOLO EXHIBITIONS 1940 Pottinger Galleries, Pasadena 1946 Boys Club, Los Angeles 1946 Central Library, Los Angeles 1946 Pasadena Art Institute 1946 They Have Returned, Los Angeles Art Association 1946 Greek Theatre, Griffith Park, Los Angeles 1946 Books and Arts, Los Angeles (drawings) 1947 Hall of Art, Beverly Hills 1952 City of Paris Rotunda Gallery, San Francisco (several shows throughout the 1950s) 1957 Telegraph Hill Art Gallery, San Francisco 1961 David Cole Gallery, S.S. Vallejo, Sausalito, Gate 5 1963 Faralla, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 1963 David Stuart Galleries, Los Angeles 1964 Gumps Gallery, San Francisco 1966 Faralla, San Francisco Museum of Art (retrospective) 1968 Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles


1954 Spring Annual Exhibition, Oakland Art Museum 1954 Western Painters’ Annual Exhibition, Oakland Art Museum 1955 The First Unitarian Church of San Francisco 1956 East Bay Artists Association, Oakland Art Museum 1956 Twentieth Annual Drawing and Print Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial at the Civic Center 1956 Seventy-Fifth Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, War Memorial at the Civic Center 1959 David Cole Gallery, S.S. Vallejo, Sausalito, Gate 5 1960 Northern California Sculptors’ Annual, Oakland Art Museum 1960 Twenty-Fourth Annual Drawing, Print and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, Juried by Dorothy Miller of the Museum of Modern Art, New York 1960 3rd Annual Outdoor Show of West Coast Sculptors in the Gallery Garden, Eric Locke Galleries, San Francisco 1961 David Cole Gallery, Sausalito 1961 Twenty-Fifth Annual Drawing, Print and Sculpture Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco Museum of Art, Veteran’s Building, Civic Center 1961 San Francisco Museum of Art Annual Drawing, Print and Sculpture Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association at the War Memorial, Civic Center 1961 San Francisco Art Institute Sculpture Annual, Juried by Dorothy Miller of the Museum of Modern Art, New York 1962 Fifty California Artists, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1963; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 1963; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, 1963. Catalogue, pp. 40–41. 1962 Some Points of View, Stanford University Art Gallery. Catalogue with foreword by George D. Culler. 1962 Arts of the Bay Area, San Francisco Museum of Art, curated by John Humphrey 1962 The Artist’s Environment: The West Coast, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas; The UCLA Art Galleries 1963; The Oakland Museum of Art, 1963. Catalogue. 1963 Art has Many Facets: The Artistic Fascination with the Cube, Catholic University of St. Thomas, Houston curated by Jermayne MacAgy. Catalogue. 1963 Polychrome Sculpture, San Francisco Art Institute 1963 The Small Format, San Francisco Museum of Art 1963 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco 1963 David Cole Gallery, San Francisco 1963 Contemporary California Sculpture, Oakland Art Museum

1964 Polychrome Sculpture, San Francisco Art Institute 1964 Festival of Fine Arts, Occidental College, Los Angeles 1965 Sculpture from San Francisco, Artist Association of the San Francisco Art Institute, Art Bank 64/66. Catalogue. 1965 White on White: Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, Drawing, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, MA; Danforth Museum, Lincoln, MA. Catalogue. 1966 2 Dimensional Sculpture, 3 Dimensional Painting, Richmond Art Center. Catalogue. 1968 15th Painting Annual, Richmond Art Center 1971 San Francisco Arts Festival 1971 New Works: Seven Bay Area Artists, The Oakland Museum. George Neubert, curator. 1971 Monotypes in California, The Oakland Museum. Teresa Heyman, curator. 1973 Charles Campbell Gallery, San Francisco 1974 4: Louis Siegriest, Richard Faralla, Robert Arneson, Nathan Oliveira. Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, California 1974 Galerie Smith-Andersen, Palo Alto 1975 Edition of One: Monoprints, Palo Alto Cultural Center 1976 Drawing Invitational Exhibition, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, California 1976 Paintings and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Traveled to National Collection of Fine Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. in 1977. Catalogue, p.139. 1980 David Cole Gallery, Inverness 1981 John Bolles Collection, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, California. 1982 Sculpture at Falkirk, San Rafael, California 1982 Resource/Reservoir: Collage and Assemblage. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Curated by Karen Tsujimoto. Catalogue. MUSEUM COLLECTIONS de Young Museum, San Francisco Oakland Museum of California San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Stanford University Art Museum (deacessioned) Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, University of Nevada, Las Vegas HISTORICAL PRIVATE COLLECTORS Mr. John Baxter Mr. and Mrs. John S. Bolles Mr. and Mrs. Ben Brisken Ron Clark


David Cole John Coplans David Davies Roy de Forest Tony DeLap Donald Greenman Mr. and Mrs. Walter Haas, Sr. Jake and Nancy Hamon Arthur Holman John Humphrey Robert Howard Mr. and Mrs. Howard I. Jacobs Mr. and Mrs. F.V. Keesling Mr. and Mrs. Moses Lasky Maurice Lapp Mr. and Mrs. Saul Liberman Sutter Marin Bruce and Bonnie Montgomery Mr. and Mrs. William Morehouse Mr. and Mrs. James Newman Mr. and Mrs. William Roth Madeleine H. Russell Amalia de Schulthess Mr. and Mrs. Louis B. Siegreist Mr. and Mrs. Lundy Siegriest Mr. and Mrs. David Simpson Mr. and Mrs. John Stevens Sam Tchakalian Bruce Tessler Ninfa Valvo Julius Wasserstein Mr. and Mrs. Mel Weitsman

White on White: Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, Drawing. Lincoln, MA: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and Danforth Museum, 1965.


Unidentified newspaper clipping with review of Duane R. Faralla one-man show at Books and Arts, 1514 North Highland Avenue, April 1946. “Most of these exploit a delicate vein of fantasy. A few are realistic. All indicate a sensitive talent and love of precise expression.”

John Humphrey. Faralla: An Exhibition of the Artists’s Work Covering the Years 1959 through 1965. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1966. H.J. Weeks. 2 Dimensional Sculpture, 3 Dimensional Painting, Richmond, CA: Richmond Art Center, 1966. Henry Hopkins. Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1976. Karen Tsujimoto. Resource/Reservoir: Collage and Assemblage. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1982. Thomas Albright. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 19451980: An Illustrated History. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985. Diana C. duPont, Katerine Church Holland, Garna Garren Muller, and Laura L. Sueoka. The Painting and Sculpture Collection. New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1985. Edan Milton Hughes. Artists in California 1786–1940. San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Co., 1986. Fariba Bogzaran, ed. S.S. Vallejo: 1949–1969. Inverness: Lucid Art Foundation, in association with Sonoma: Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 2018.


George Culler. Some Points of View, Palo Alto: Stanford University Art Gallery, 1962. John Humphrey. Arts of the Bay Area. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1962.

“Soldier’s Art On Display at Boy’s Club.” January 24, 1946. Review of Boys Club show. Undocumented newspaper clipping.*

George Culler, James Elliot, Lloyd Goodrich. Fifty California Artists. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1963.

Virginia Stuart. “Broader Scope of Art Instruction Planned Next Autumn.” Los Angeles Times, March 1946. Review of exhibition Paintings by Duane Faralla at the Pasadena Art Institute, Members Room.

Frederick Wight. The Artist’s Environment: The West Coast, Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, 1963. Jermayne MacAgy. Art has Many Facets: The Artistic Fascination with the Cube, Catholic University of St. Thomas, Houston, 1963.

Alexander Fried. “Legion Annual Returns to Basis in Realism.” Pictorial Review. February 1952.*

Sculpture from San Francisco, Art Bank 64/66. San Francisco: Artist Association of the San Francisco Art Institute, 1965.

“San Francisco Picks To Reflect Non-Abstract Trend.” February 1, 1952. Undocumented newspaper clipping.*


Review of California Palace of the Legion of Honor Fifth Annual Exhibition.*

“It’s Auction Time.” San Francisco Examiner, February 14, 1965. Features image of wall relief assemblage by Faralla.*

“First Art Show Uncovers Creative Talent.” December 7, 1956. The Soledad Star News for the California State Prison. First Annual Soledad Art and Craft Show. Faralla was a Juror for the show.*

Fred Martin. “San Francisco Letter.” Art International, Vol. X (December 1966), pp. 80–81. “Faralla Sculpture: San Francisco.” West Art, Vol. V, no. 1 (September 6, 1966).

Dorothy Walker. “The Art World: He’s Leaving S.F. to Get Fresh Ideas.” San Francisco News. May 11, 1957. p. 10.

“Faralla Sculpture Presently In Retrospective Exhibition.” Undocumented newspaper clipping. Review of retrospective exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art*

Miriam Dungan Cross. “Vitality of Sculpture Seen in S.F. Annual.” Oakland Tribune. November 5, 1961. p. EL13. Review of S.F. Art Institute’s 25th Drawing, Print and Sculpture Annual at the S.F. Museum of Art.

Alfred Frankenstein. “Wood Pieces Come Alive.” S.F. Sunday Examinter & Chronicle. p. 25. No Date. Review of retrospective at San Francisco Museum of Art. Features large image of Faralla’s work Night Gates.

Alfred Bloomfield. “Paintings Waiting to Hit You.” San Francisco News-Call Bulletin. March 15, 1961. p. 43. Review of exhibition at David Cole gallery in Sausalito.

Raymond Barrio. “Things happen when SF artist glues together pieces of wood.” Palo Alto Times, September 1966. Review of retrospective at San Francisco Museum of Art.

Herschel B. Chipp. “San Francisco.” Artnews. p. 48. 1961. Review of San Francisco Art Institute Sculpture Annual including Bay Area sculptors. “Constructions of exceptional interest were Alvin Light, Charles Ross, Arlo Acton, Bruce Conner, Mel Henderson and Faralla.”

Arthur Bloomfield, “Faralla Gets Art Out of the Woods.” San Francisco Examiner, 1967. Elizabeth, Polley. “High Quality Show in Richmond.” Review of 15th Painting Annual at Richmond Art Center, juried by William Willey, Roy De Forest, and Keith Boyle. Faralla’s Oval (1961) reproduced.*

John Coplans. “San Francisco: Angel-Hipsterism, Beat and Zen Versus New Materials.” Artforum, September 1962, pp. 39–42 (Faralla mention: pp. 41-42). Review of San Francisco Museum’s exhibition “Arts of the Bay Area. September, 1962.

Arthur Bloomfield. “The Romantic Whittler.” January 25, 1970. Interview with Faralla days before his exhibition opened at the de Young Museum February 7, 1970.*

“‘50 Artists’ Show.” San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, October 26, 1962, p. 36. Associated Press article. Review of Fifty California Artists at the Whitney Museum of Art.

Thomas Albright. “Faralla’s Elegant Things.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, 1970. Review of exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.

John Canaday. “Visitors From The West.” New York Times, October 28, 1962. Review of Fifty California Artists at the Whitney Museum of Art. Image of Faralla’s work Oval is featured prominently along with work by Diebenkorn.

Thomas Albright. “Their Own Artistic Paths.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 1971. Review of Oakland Museum exhibition titled New Work: Seven Bay Area Artists.

E.G., “Here They Come From California.” New York Tribune, October 28, 1962. Review of Fifty California Artists at the Whitney Museum of Art. Faralla not mentioned.*

Arthur Bloomfield. “Artistic Fresh Air: A Show That’s Not New Or Chic, Just Good.” San Francisco Examiner, July 29, 1971. Review of exhibiton at the Oakland Museum.

Fred Martin. The Art of the West Coast. Four-page typescript.*

Thomas Albright. “The Monotype—An Elite Medium.” San Francisco Chronicle, November 3, 1972. Review of a print show at the Oakland Museum.

Fred Martin. “The Art of the West Coast of the United States.” Art and Australia. Vol. 1, no. 2, August 1963, pp. 84–87. Full page image of Faralla’s Night Gates reproduced.

Fred Martin. “On The Art of Faralla.” Three page essay on the artists work from 1962 and 1974.*

Constance Perkins. “Faralla’s Wood Art Impresses.” Los Angeles Times. October 21, 1963. Review of exhibition at David Stuart Galleries in which Faralla is referred to as “craftsman and artist.”

A Survey of Art Work in the City and County of San Francisco, published by the Office of the Mayor, an America Bicentennial project. 1975.* Alfred Frankenstein. “Brilliant Colors and Raw Fury.” March 1975. Review of Faralla’s second show at the San

Alfred Frankenstein. “Faralla’s Driftwood And Spiky Sculpture.” 1963.*


Francisco Museum of Art. Mentions the artist’s work as “dark, mysterious, and violent, as well as serene.”* Arthur Bloomfield, “Dynamic ‘pictures’ in cardboard.” San Francisco Examiner, February 17, 1975. p. 20. Fred Martin. “In What Way Is It That The Artist Cannot Sell His Work.” Artweek, August 14, 1976. Review of show for Faralla’s body prints. Gallery not identified. Thomas Albright, “California art since the ‘modern dawn.’” Artnews, 1977. p. 68. Review of exhibition Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1976. Does not mention Faralla specifically. Herschel B. Chipp. Artnews, Special California Section. 1977. *Indicates clipping from Richard Faralla papers, 1927–1984, Smithsonian Archives of American Art. SELECTED BOOKS FROM FARALLA’S LIBRARY OR THAT HE ASSIGNED TO STUDENTS FOR READINGS: The Erotic Drawings of Mihaly Zighy. Forty Drawings. New York: Grove Press, 1969. Phyllis Kronhausen. The Complete Book of Erotic Art: Erotic Art. Volumes 1 and 2. Hermann Hesse. Siddhartha. Cambridge, MA: New Directions Books, 1922. Eugen Herrigel. Zen and the Art of Archery. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948. Gary Zukav. The Dancing Wu Li Masters. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1979. James Lord. Giacometti Portrait. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980. (same author also wrote My Queer War, an autobiography in 1985).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Patricia Watts is a curator and publisher with twenty-five years of experience specializing in underrecognized 20th-century artists who embrace the human-nature relationship. From 2005–2008, Watts was Chief Curator at the Sonoma County Museum in Northern California where she was the Tom Golden Collection curator and managed one of the nation’s largest collections of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s preparatory works. She has organized solo exhibitions of Ruth Asawa’s wire sculptures and paintings selected from the Paul Lanier Collection, and Marguerite Wildenhain’s ceramics from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection. From 2012–2017, Watts worked as consulting curator for the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, where she organized several large-scale group and monographic exhibitions focused on mature and deceased artists of the North Bay Area. Realizing numerous artists in the region had at least fifty years of work and with no monograph, she created the imprint Watts Art Publications to shine a light on these artists who have been overlooked. Watts has an MA in Museum Studies/Exhibition Design from California State University, Fullerton, and a BA in Business Administration from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She also has a certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts from New York University, School of Professional Studies. Watts is USPAP compliant and is an Associate Member of the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), New York.

watts art publications

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