Gordon Onslow Ford: Centennial Celebration

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gordon onslow ford

gordon onslow ford Centennial Celebration

Weinstein Gallery

This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Gordon Onslow Ford: Centennial Celebration Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, January 26–February 23, 2013. Weinstein Gallery 383 Geary Street San Francisco, California 94102 weinstein.com © 2013 Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco Essay “Spontaneous Apparitions” © 2013 Peter Selz

Weinstein Gallery would like thank the Lucid Art Foundation for its assistance in loaning works for this exhibition. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Max Rouslin and Marilyn Covington-Rouslin and the Estate of Elisabeth Onslow Ford Rouslin. Artwork copyright and courtesy of the Lucid Art Foundation, Inverness, California. Photos: Inside front cover, inside back cover, pages 5, 6, 9, 10 courtesy the Lucid Art Foundation; page 8, photo by Elisabeth Onslow Ford Rouslin, courtesy the Lucid Art Foundation. Publication directed and edited by Jasmine Moorhead Production by Jasmine Moorhead and Nicholas Pishvanov Photography by Nicholas Pishvanov Designed by Linda Corwin, Avantgraphics Text set in Rockwell Printed by California Lithographers, Concord, California

Front cover: Time Mountain 1939 Oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches Back cover: Composition 1971 Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas 80 x 59 inches Inside front cover: Gordon Onslow Ford painting in his studio on the S.S.Vallejo, Sausalito, California, 1955 Inside back cover: Gordon Onslow Ford painting in his studio, Bishop Pine Preserve, Inverness, California, 1983

gordon onslow ford Centennial Celebration

Rowland Weinstein


e are here to celebrate the centennial of Gordon Onslow Ford, whose lifetime of work demonstrates an unsparing dedication to the search for the inner worlds through the medium of painting. Over eight decades of art making, Onslow Ford employed the automatism of his youthful association with the Surrealist endeavor in order to hone mere paint into the unmistakable elements, marks, and voids of the workings of the “great spaces of the mind.” His painting had the ultimate goal of self-discovery; at the same time it was purely selfless and creative—and always direct. Onslow Ford was a finely tuned antenna, receiving and broadcasting the life pulse of the universe. It was with the work and blessing of Gordon Onslow Ford that the true great journey of Weinstein Gallery began. In 2003 I had the odd fortune to meet Gordon Onslow Ford. Or perhaps, most accurately, I was called by him through the ether. Regardless of the causal direction, our paths crossed and with that everything in my life changed. The introduction to Onslow Ford and his work was an education unlike any I could have received in any other place in time. He became an immediate and

Rowland Weinstein and Gordon Onslow Ford at the opening of his exhibition,Weinstein Gallery, 2003


direct connection between me and 1939 France, as the Surrealists prepared for the impending war in Europe. Through him, I was able to sit in on polyglot conversations among his close friends Roberto Matta, André Breton, Yves Tanguy, and Kay Sage. He could describe to me New York and its bustle in the early 1940s, as the Surrealists literally schooled the younger generation of American artists who would forever, like their teachers, change the world of art. Gordon was mentor and translator to both groups. Onslow Ford continued his painting journey during six crucial years (from 1941–47) among the Tarascan Indians in Mexico, where he lived on Lake Pátzcuaro with his wife, writer Jacqueline Johnson. Their next, and final, move to the San Francisco Bay Area would prove again to be a fortuitous moment, in which the free spirit of the California frontier was congealing into a solid community of younger artists and thinkers, and included a crucial Eastern influence. Onslow Ford’s already strong belief in the singular importance of the line was confirmed by the millenniaold tradition of Asian calligraphy, which he studied with one of its masters, Hodo Tobase. That teaching then became the final foundation the artist required for what would be almost a fiftyyear-long meditation on the nature of painting. In the early 1950s, Onslow Ford had reduced his painting elements to the most basic forms: line, circle, dot. These were the DNA of his world—each shape becoming the other as the two dimensions gave way to a third. The line on its end in space was a dot, the circle a line, the dot a circle . . . and so forth and so on. It was a question of being able to hold all perspectives, regardless of orientation in space, in the mind at once. For Gordon, each day began just before the sunrise, when the mind had not fully awakened to the rational world. His inner voice, his unconscious mind would summon these basic forms as he leaned over the canvas or paper—a sublimation from spirit to substrate. These works are evidence of both an individual life lived and of a cosmic world we all share. The work presented here is a small but potent survey of Gordon Onslow Ford’s ongoing discovery of what it meant to him to be an artist: to record in deliberate, unerring strokes the most basic and most critical impulses of the universe, writ both small and large, internally and, now, for all the world to see.

Gordon Onslow Ford in his studio, Bishop Pine Preserve, Inverness, California, July 1961


spontaneous apparitions The Work of Gordon Onslow Ford

Peter Selz


n a testimonial in honor of Gordon’s Eightieth Birthday in 1993 I wrote: “It is almost fifty years ago that André Breton wrote in Le Surréalism et la Peinture that Gordon Onslow Ford’s work ‘represents the four-dimensional universe.’ And, indeed the artist has continued to create paintings in which matter and energy reach a state of fusion. What is more, his art allows the spectator to partake of the artist’s voyage into space, and it is inner space as well as outer space that is being explored and communicated. Expressing his own high energy, Gordon often works in the air and throws the paint spontaneously onto the canvas in the figuration of line, circle, dot. The resultant works help us to visualize not only the energy of the artist, but in a more universal way, it transmits a sense of energy of the soul as well as the cosmos. At a time when all around us misguided theoreticians try to de-mystify art, Gordon Onslow Ford lets us know that art partakes of magic and is the language of the spirit.”1 How did this unique manner of making art come about? It was a long and wakeful journey from his time in the British Navy to the creation of works of inner radiance. Nature has at all times been crucial to his being, from pinpointing his ship’s location by scanning the stars, to living in a remote isolated village close to an active volcano in Mexico, to his final residence in the dense forests above Tomales Bay with a view of Mount Vision across the canyon. Onslow Ford came from a family of artists; his grandfather Edward Gordon Onslow Ford, Bishop Pine Preserve, Inverness, California, 1977 Onslow Ford was a notable sculptor. While serving in the British Royal


Navy, Gordon did some paintings—ships and portraits—and he ultimately decided that he wanted to be a painter, not a naval officer. He went to Paris where he studied briefly in the ateliers of Fernand Léger and André Lhote—the latter managed to teach Cubism by the rules. Fortuitously he met the Chilean Roberto Matta, who at that time was studying architecture with Le Corbusier but also made automatic drawings which he called “inscapes.” The two young men encouraged each other in their pursuit of painting; they were greatly impressed by reading about the space-time continuum in P.D. Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum. At Salvador Dalí’s suggestion, Matta showed some of his drawings to Breton, who welcomed new blood in the aging Surrealism movement and invited both Matta and Onslow Ford to join the hallowed group and take part in the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1938. It was during this time that Onslow Ford invented coulage, a Surrealist automatic technique of spilling paint on canvas and allowing it to flow with little rational control by the artist. This manner of working anticipated the poured canvases of Hans Hofmann and of Jackson Pollock, who of course made it an essential element of his work. In 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, Matta and Onslow Ford joined the older Surrealists for the summer in a chateau in the Alps, a place called Chemillieu (see works from this period, pp. 14 and 15). Matta called the paintings he and Onslow Ford produced at that time “Psychological Morphologies,” and Breton himself wrote then about their moving art into a “four-dimensional universe.” Onslow Ford was called back to Britain to serve in the Navy but found time to continue painting, producing amazing pictures like Time Mountain (1939; p. 16), with its interweave of acute angles and ellipses, and Cycloptomania (1940; see the study of this work on p. 20), in which strange monsters and invented organic and angular forms morph into each other. He was given an exhibition in London’s Zwemmer Gallery, which together with his three essays in the Surrealist journal London Bulletin helped create an interest in Surrealism in England. The Surrealists’ concern with dreams and automatic tactics were of great interest to critics like Roland Penrose and Herbert Read. In 1940 Kay Sage, as part of a larger project to get the European Surrealists out of danger as the Germans advanced, arranged for Onslow Ford to come to the United States to lecture. For his part, the artist “persuaded the British Admiralty to grant him a leave to fulfill the obligation to represent European culture that the West had hoped to save.”2 The Navy ship to which he had been assigned was bombed and sunk by a German submarine and Onslow Ford crossed the Atlantic safely in June 1940. He arrived in New York and, living in a cold-water flat in the West Village, resumed painting, creating a major work, Propaganda for Love (1940; p. 22), a rather large canvas with a most complex iconography of esoteric symbols in which a psychic landscape is fused with dream images. He produced a good number of related pictures during his brief stay in New York (1940–41) and was also occupied with propagating Surrealism in the New World. He curated an exhibition of the Surrealists’ work at New York’s New School for Social Research (also known as the University


Gordon Onslow Ford in Mexico, c. 1946


in Exile) that included, among others, paintings by Giorgio de Chirico (living in Rome), Victor Brauner (in hiding in France), and exiles Max Ernst, Jean (Hans) Arp, Yves Tanguy, as well as Matta and himself. Onslow Ford had also managed to transport Surrealist works from his own collection to New York, and he indeed did manage to “represent European culture” admirably. As the only one who spoke English, he became the de facto interpreter and spokesman of Surrealism. Between January and March 1941, he gave four lectures at the New School, talks in which he analyzed the work of the artists, turning often to Freud in his interpretation, but relying mostly on his own insights as an artist. The lectures were as follows: 1. De Chirico; 2. Max Ernst and Joan Miró; 3. René Magritte and Yves Tanguy; and 4. Victor Brauner, Kurt Seligmann, Esteban Francés, Roberto Matta, and Gordon Onslow Ford. No attendance was taken, but it is likely that among those present were Matta, Seligmann, and Tanguy, as well as the Americans William Baziotes, Jimmy Ernst, Arshile Gorky, David Hare, Gerome Kamrowski, Robert Motherwell, and Kay Sage. These lectures, given at a crucial moment, had a causal effect on the young American painters and their concern with automatism, leading to what Harold Rosenberg named Action Painting. In 1941 as France had succumbed to the Nazis, heavy fighting was going on in the Balkans and North Africa, and much of England was target to the German Luftwaffe, Gordon and his beautiful new wife, the writer Jacqueline Johnson, went to Mexico to find peace away from the destructiveness of war. For a brief time in Oaxaca, he met with the Austrian Surrealist Wolfgang Paalen, with whom he shared admiration for pre-Columbian art. The two artists also distanced themselves from Orthodox Surrealism, feeling that the preoccupation with Marxist Dialectic Materialism, which looked at art as “superstructure,” and with Freud’s determined reliance on dreams were in opposition to their own interest in Jung’s psychology of “Collective Unconscious” and to the aesthetic of spontaneity. Paalen founded and edited the journal Dyn (“the Possible”) in 1942, and in its first edition he published his seminal article “Farewell to Surrealism,” in which he postulated many of these concepts. Gordon and Jacqueline soon settled in the rural village of Erongaricuaro, in the Tarascan Indian area, where Gordon proceeded to work on his paintings. The Circuit of the Light Knight through the Dark Queen (1942; p. 25), with its elaborate title and many years of reworking, was a large, key painting of mystical meditation. In later pictures, like Birthing (1945; p. 28) and The Navigators (1946; p. 29) with their stippled patterns and geometric

shapes, he refrains from the illusion of landscapes and adheres to the two dimensions of the canvas. Some of these paintings were shown in a solo exhibition at the Karl Nierendorf Gallery in New York, a venue which was known for showing German Expressionist art. In 1947 the Onslow Fords decided to return to the U.S. Avoiding New York and its busy art world, they chose San Francisco, at first living on Telegraph Hill, where they were visited by Paalen and Lee Mullican. The three artists shared a vision in which “painting is beautiful when it makes the spectator partake emotionally in the great structural rhythm, the tidal waves of form and chaos, of being and becoming, which go beyond the accidents of individual fate.”3 This group, one an Austrian, one an Englishman, and one born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, created the short-lived Dynaton art movement, which among other concerns was a hybrid of Eastern and Western traditions. In 1948 Gordon Onslow Ford was given a solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Art, which he titled Towards a New Subject in Painting, the subject being a “state of self-transcending awareness.” Typical of his work at this juncture is a picture, dedicated to his sister, Untitled (For Elisabeth Onslow Ford on Her Birthday) (1947; p. 30), with its pulsating dots, its palette both strong and subdued, and its vertical lines striving to a star. In the late 1940s and 50s he spent much of his time on an old ferryboat, the S.S.Vallejo, moored in Sausalito harbor. He shared the boat with the Greek-American painter Jean Varda, and it became a gathering place in which artists like Ruth Asawa and Richard Bowman and writers such as Henry Miller, Maya Angelou, and future Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder congregated. Gordon’s contact with Fritjof Capra and his study of New Physics also proved important for his mature work. Even more so was his learning about Asian

Dynaton Group including Gordon Onslow Ford, Luchita Hurtado, Wolfgang Paalen, Lee Mullican, and Jacqueline Johnson, 343 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, c. 1951


Gordon Onslow Ford and Jacqueline Johnson at their home, Bishop Pine Preserve, Inverness, California, 1975


thought, specifically his study of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy with Hodo Tobase, and Roshi and Zen with Sabro Hasegawa, as well as with Alan Watts, who took over the Vallejo when Gordon moved to a new house and studio in a forest of ancient Bishop Pines. “On June 5, 1951, while on a walk overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a dazzling insight came to me: I saw that the root of painting was made up of Line-Circle-Dot elements.”4 He was to devote the rest of his life to constant refinement—no, deeper exploration—of this concept. To achieve this figuration spontaneity is essential, and Onslow Ford at times would simply gesture these forms in the air before committing the figuration to canvas. By working in this fashion and cultivating an open mind he arrived at a state where “the painting is no longer communicating ‘about’ something else but the painting ‘is’ the direct communication.”5 Slowly colors departed from his work. A similar disappearance of color occurred in the classical Cubist paintings when Picasso and Braque in 1908– 09 were so deeply involved in reconstructing the traditional forms of painting, that color vanished from their canvases. In works like In Clover (c. 1960, p. 43) and In Wonder (1961, p. 42), the artist used a pre-acrylic pigment called Parle’s paint. Onslow Ford would paint white on black and black on white, creating great networks of energy in which figure and ground merge into a unity. ‘’These direct, conscious and unconscious expressions in painting reveal a phenomenon in which the only movement is stillness and the only sound is silence.”6 In 1962–63, Gordon and Jacqueline traveled around the world studying early civilizations, including trips to Mexico, Peru, and Europe. During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Onslow Ford exhibited widely, with shows in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, and works exhibited in Chicago, British Columbia, Baden Baden, Paris, Marseilles, the Hague, Milan, and New Delhi. At certain intervals, color, at first pale blues and browns, reappeared in his painting. The display of visual elements became more complex. In addition to linecircle-dot the canvases are enriched with various signs and signals, and spatters and splinters, put down with rapid speed—at times he would even throw the paint onto the canvas. We also see many spirals, connoting infinity. In the mid-1990s the octogenarian painter produced magisterial pictures, such as the horizontal Hover in Ground (1996; p. 53) and the great vertical Eco Echo (1996; p. 52), which depicts a firmament which is no longer solid and stable: the artist has visualized great

galaxies in motion, the heavenly bodies in seemingly endless rotation. In his 1978 book Creation, he first introduced the reader to his understanding of the phenomenological outer world as against the more contemplative spiritual inner world. “All that is observed in the outer-world through the senses is in a state of change, but the inner-worlds, though expressed in an original way by the painter-voyager, are of a more permanent nature that probably have not changed much since man began to draw.”7 Onslow Ford’s signature style explored new territory in picture-making. But, like all significant art, it was also part of a continuing tradition. He must have felt an affinity to Kandinsky and was familiar with his painting and theory. Paalen, his close friend and associate in Dynaton, had studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich in 1925 and in Saint Tropez two years later, and Hofmann’s teaching was largely based on Kandinsky’s. And, in 1935, Kandinsky actually visited Paalen in his Paris studio.8 Like Kandinsky, Onslow Ford was attentive to Theosophy and inner enlightenment. Kandinsky asserted that the artist has a message to convey, a message revealed to him by his “inner sound.” In his book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky wrote at length about the nonmaterial, the spiritual world and that the choice of subject must originate from the inner necessity of the artist looking to the future. Kandinsky asserted: “When the possibility of speaking through artistic means will be developed, it will be superfluous to borrow from the exterior world for spiritual expression.”9And Gordon knew that “the inner worlds of the unconscious are invisible, but can be visible through spontaneous drawing and painting.”10 Spontaneity was also primal in Sam Francis’s paintings, and late in their lives the two artists became neighbors and friends. They could talk about their immersion in Asian thought and Jung’s assertion that the artist is able to integrate animus with anima. Onslow Ford dedicated his last book, the 1991 Insights, “to the contagious joy in the paintings of Sam Francis.”11 This compliment to his good friend can be seen as a continuation of an inspiration articulated thirty years before in his 1964 book Painting in the Instant, dedicated to Yves Tanguy, where he described: “It is a function of art to bring wonder into the world.”12 Indeed it was Onslow Ford’s ongoing sense of awe at the nature around him that served as the guiding principle of his remarkable, lifelong voyage in painting. NOTES 1. Peter Selz, statement in Gordon Onslow Ford in Honor of His Eightieth Birthday (unpublished booklet, 1993, n.p.). 2. Martica Sawin, Surrealism in Exile (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1995), pp. 107–08. 3. Wolfgang Paalen, “Theory of the Dynaton,” in Dynaton (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1951), p. 10. 4. Onslow Ford, “The Dynaton,” in Dynaton, Before and Beyond (Malibu: Pepperdine University Press, 1992), p. 8. 5. Fariba Bogzaran, “Exploring the Wilderness Within,” in Gordon Onslow Ford (Munich: Höcherl Verlag, 1994), p. 47. 6. Ibid. 7. Onslow Ford, Creation (Basel: Galerie Schreiner, 1978), p. 58. 8. Amy Winter, Wolfgang Paalen (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002), p. 42. 9. Vasily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (New York: Wittenborn Books, 1947), pp. 80–81. 10. Onslow Ford, “Ecomorphology—A Direction in Painting That Leads to Seeing in Depth,” in Gordon Onslow Ford (Munich), p. 53. 11. Onslow Ford, Insights (Petaluma, CA, 1991), epigraph. 12. Onslow Ford, Painting in the Instant (London: Thames and Hudson; New York: Harry N. Abrams,1964), p. 26.



Peinture 1938 Oil on canvas 28他 x 361/ 8 inches



Untitled (Chemillieu) 1939 Oil on canvas 28½ x 36 inches

Analytical Landscape 1939 Oil on canvas 24他 x 295/ 8 inches


Time Mountain 1939 Oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches


Sketch for “Escape” 1939 Watercolor on paper 15¾ x 18¾ inches


Sketch for “Chambre Ouvert” 1940 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 inches


Sketch for “Checkmate” 1940 Gouache on paper 14 x 19 inches


Sketch for “Cycloptomania” 1940 Ink and gouache on paper 7¾ x 12¼ inches


Sketch for “Propaganda for Love” c. 1940 Ink, gouache, and crayon on paper 12½ x 20¼ inches


Propaganda for Love 1940 Oil on canvas 41Âź x 663/ 8 inches

On loan from the collection of the Lucid Art Foundation



Study for “The Luminous Land” 1942 Pastel on paper 13¾ x 30 inches

Untitled (1942-017)

1942 Pastel and crayon on paper 13½ x 17 inches


The Circuit of the Light Knight through the Dark Queen 1942 Oil on canvas 38Âź x 50 inches

On loan from the collection of the Lucid Art Foundation


The Dialogue of Circle Makers 1944 Oil on canvas 461/ 8 x 35 inches


Migrators with Bird 1944 Oil on canvas 64 x 42½ inches


Birthing 1945 Oil on canvas 16 x 20Âź inches


The Navigators 1946 Gouache on paper 21Ÿ x 31½ inches





(To Elisabeth Onslow Ford on Her Birthday) 1947 Oil on canvas 25½ x 19½ inches


Future of the Falcon (Early Version) 1947 Casein on board 24 x 38Âź inches


A New Beginning

1947 Gouache and acrylic on paper 17½ x 15 inches


The Signpost

1947 Gouache on paper 27 x 20 inches


No Time

1950 Oil and sand on masonite 41 x 72 inches



Untitled (1950–010) 1950 Acrylic on linen 35½ x 49½ inches


Wild Time

1953 Casein on mulberry paper on canvas 36 x 62 inches


Grass leap

1955 Casein on mulberry paper on canvas 24½ x 39½ inches


Water World 1956 Casein on mulberry paper on linen 36 x 37 inches


Parent Poles II

1959 Parle’s paint on paper 25½ x 35 inches


Burning Water

1959 Parle’s paint on paper on canvas 29 x 44 inches


In Wonder

1961 Parle’s paint on canvas 69½ x 28 inches


In Clover

c. 1960 Parle’s paint on canvas 72½ x 50½ inches


Space in Bloom

1966 Acrylic on board 61¼ x 43¼ inches

Opposite page

Present in Company

1969 Acrylic on canvas 72 x 96½ inches


Composition 1971 Acrylic on paper on canvas 80 x 59 inches



1975 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches


Untitled (1980–082) 1980 Acrylic on paper 17 x 76 inches



Mind’s Eye Series (1128) 1990 Acrylic on canvas 53½ x 32¼ inches

Opposite page

Be It Self

1993 Acrylic on canvas 76 x 111½ inches


Eco Echo

1996 Acrylic on paper on canvas 56½ x 37 inches


Hover in Ground 1996 Acrylic on paper on canvas 24½ x 36 inches


Voyager in Wonder (Series–1) 2002 Acrylic on paper on linen 25½ x 38 inches




ordon Onslow Ford was born in Wendover, England, on December 26, 1912. Although interested in painting from an early age, he trained at the Royal Naval Academy, graduating as a mid-shipman. Eventually he resigned his commission in 1937 and moved to Paris to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. There he met Roberto Matta and together they approached André Breton, who accepted them as members of the Surrealist group. In the summer of 1939, he lived with Breton, Matta, Yves Tanguy, and others in a rented chateau in Southeast France, one of the last meetings of the European group before it was dispersed to the United States and beyond due to the impending war. Onslow Ford was ordered to report for duty by the British Navy in the fall of 1939. While back in London he arranged a show of Surrealism. An illness kept him from sailing on his assigned ship, which turned out to be the first British ship sunk in World War II. He obtained a leave from the Navy and left for New York to give a series of lectures on Surrealism at the New School for Social Research, which took place in early 1941. In August of that year, he moved with his new bride Jacqueline Johnson to Erongaricuaro, a village in the Tarascan Indian region west of Mexico City, where they lived for the next six years. In 1947 Onslow Ford moved with Jacqueline to the San Francisco Bay Area. The exposure

to Eastern philosophy and Asian calligraphy would greatly influence the artist for the rest of his career, both in terms of formal style and its emphasis on the void. Also during these early years in California he, Wolfgang Paalen, and Lee Mullican formed the Dynaton group, seeking “a new possible” in art and culminating in a show at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1951. Onslow Ford became friendly with a wide cast of Bay area artists and thinkers, including members of the nascent Beat movement, when he had his studio on the S.S. Vallejo, a ferryboat in the Sausalito harbor which he shared with the artist and bon vivant Jean Varda. A decade into their California life, the Onslow Fords acquired several hundred acres of land outside of the village of Inverness, near Point Reyes, where they built a home and Gordon’s studio. It was here that Onslow Ford would fulfill his original Surrealist vision of a purely automatic way of painting informed by a close relationship to nature and to the cosmos. In addition, Onslow Ford would over the next decades write several books including Painting in the Instant, Creation, and later Insights and Once Upon a Time in collaboration with artist and dream studies scholar Fariba Bogzaran, with whom he would also establish the Lucid Art Foundation. Gordon Onslow Ford died peacefully in his home on November 9, 2003, at the age of ninety.


selected exhibitions and Public Collections 1938 International Surrealism Exhibition, Paris. 1939 Salon des Indépendants, Paris. 1941 New School for Social Research, New York. 1946 Karl Nierendorf Gallery, New York. 1948 Towards a New Subject in Painting, San Francisco Museum of Art. 1951 Dynaton, San Francisco Museum of Art. 1956 Alexander Rabow Galleries, San Francisco. 1961 Painting from the Pacific, Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand. 1962 Gordon Onslow Ford, 1951–1962, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. 1970 Gordon Onslow Ford, Large Paintings, San Francisco Museum of Art. 1975 Gordon Onslow Ford: Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, 1937–1975, Pyramid Galleries, Washington, D.C. 1977 Gordon Onslow Ford: Retrospective Exhibition, Oakland Museum of California; SurrealitatBildrealitat, Staalich Kunsthalle, Baden Baden, Switzerland; Surrealism and American Art, Rutgers University Art Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


1985 Galerie Samy Kinge, Paris, France. 1986 The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Art, 1890–1985, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Moderns in Mind, Artists Space, New York; The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper, 1938–1948, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1990 Anxious Visions: Surrealist Art, Berkeley Art

Museum; El Surrealismo Entre Viejo y Nuevo Mundo, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Canary Islands; Pursuit of the Marvelous, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California. 1991 André Breton et le Surréalisme, Musée National d’Art Moderne. 1992 Dynaton, Before and Beyond, Frederick R. Weisman Musem of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. 1993 Gordon Onslow Ford, Galerie Brochier, Munich, Germany; Gordon Onslow Ford: The World of Line Circle Dot, Pavilion at the Botanical Garden, Munich, Germany. 1994 Gordon Onslow Ford: A Retrospective, Bochum Museum of Art, Germany. 1995 Pacific Dreams: Surrealism and Fantasy in California Art, 1934–1957, Oakland Museum of California; Gordon Onslow Ford, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile. 1996 Quest of the Inner-Worlds: A Retrospective, A & C Gallery, JFK University, Berkeley. 1997 Through the Light: Exploration into Consciousness, A & C Gallery, JFK University, Berkeley. 1998 Mirando en lo Profundo, Fondacion Eugenio Granell, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 2001 Made in USA, l’Art Americain, 1908–1943, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux; Vital Forms: American Art in the Atomic Age, The Brooklyn Museum, the Walker Museum of Art, Minneapolis; Made in California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2003 A Vision Shared: Roberto Matta and Gordon Onslow Ford, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco; Exploring the Open Mind: Paintings from the 1950’s and 1960’s, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2004 Voyagers in Space: Paintings from the 1970’s

and 1980’s, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2005 The Great Spaces of the Mind: Paintings from the 1990’s to 2000’s, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco; Surrealism USA, National Academy Museum, New York. 2006 The Formative Years: Paintings from the 1930’s to 1940’s, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2007 Dreams on Canvas, Nassau County Museum of Art, New York; Gordon Onslow Ford: From the Vallejo: 1949–1959, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco; 1937: Perfecktion und Zerstorung, Kunsthalle-Bielefeld, Germany. 2008 Landscapes of Consciousness, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2009 The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 2011 Colour of My Dreams, Vancouver Art Gallery; Surrealism: New Worlds, Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2012 Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary, Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Drawing Surrealism, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Selected Public Collections Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Fort Lauderdale Museum, FL Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA Los Angeles County Museum of Art De Young Museum, San Francisco Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, UT Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, FL Oakland Museum of California San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Tate Gallery, London University of California, Davis University of Massachusetts, Boston Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Weinstein Gallery

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