[Francis Naumann]

Francis M. Naumann Fine Art is pleased to announce “Gordon Onslow Ford: Paintings and Works on Paper 1939-1951,” a show curated by Fariba Bogzaran, Director of The Lucid Art Foundation, will open on Thursday evening, October 14, 2010, and run through to Thursday, December 23 2010.

Propaganda for Love, 1940
Oil on canvas, 41 ¼ x 66 ½ inches

            Gordon Onslow Ford (1912-2003) was the youngest recruit to the pre-World War II, as sent to the United States by the Committee to Preserve European Culture.  To fulfill his obligations to this organization, he delivered a series of highly influential lectures on Surrealism at the New School for Social Research in New York.  Attended by a group of young American artists, as well as by some of his fellow refugees, these lectures offered not only interpretations of Surrealist paintings, but also a vision for new possibilities in art, one that presented an open challenge for artists to pursue personal experiment in order to bring about a revolution in consciousness.  Six months after the lectures were delivered, Onslow Ford left New York for a remote Mexican village, where he remained for six years and painted some of the most energized and psychologically compelling pictures of his career.  At the end of the war, he settled in California, where he lived on the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mid-1950s until his death in 2003.

            This is the first exhibition devoted to Onslow Ford’s work in New York since a show at the Nierendorf Gallery in 1946.  It begins with several proto-Surrealist works made in Paris in the late 1930s.  Highlighted are paintings and studies for paintings made around the time of the New School lectures, such as Propaganda for Love (1940), a monumental composition consisting of Surrealist imagery arranged in an abstract format.  Paintings from this period are followed by more serene visions from his years in Mexico, such as The Painter and the Muse (1943), a work that depicts male and female elements conjoined in an ethereal landscape.  The show concludes with reflections on an energized nature experienced in California’s Muir Woods in 1950-51.
            The author of the accompanying catalogue is the noted art historian Martica Sawin, author of Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School (MIT Press, 1995).  In the 1980s, Sawin interviewed Onslow Ford for this book, but they remained in contact and, over the years, became good friends.  Her insightful and highly informative is based—in part—on these interviews.  She also transcribed the lectures on Surrealism that Onslow Ford delivered at the New School, and they are published in the catalogue for the first time.

Temptations of the Painter, 1941
Oil on canvas, 46 x 60 inches

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