Springing from the San Francisco Post-War abstract expressionist movement, the Bay Area Figurative movement (whose first proponent was David Park) became a phenomenon in the late 40s and early 50s. Park had become disenchanted with the limitations of non-objective art and focused on including the figure in his abstractions. This purely California invention spread quickly in the San Francisco area and soon was embraced in many areas of the state and, due to the mobility of the population, relatively quickly to other areas of the United States. Though commonly referred to as the Bay Area Figurative Movement (first generation, bridge generation and second generation artists), it is now evident that a whole new group of talented artists born in the 1930s through the 1950s comprised a third generation of abstract figurative artists who were acutely influenced by the pioneers in the movement.
The term “California Figurative” includes all of these artists, beginning with the Bay Area Figurative movement (roughly 1950 and well into the 1990s). Even as of today’s date (2020), the influence of the Bay Area Figurative movement can still be found in the art of many artists around the world.