Oliveira, Nathan (1928-2010)

Untitled (dated 1968)






Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010)

Born in Oakland, California, of Portuguese decent, Oliveira enrolled in the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1951 with the intention of becoming a portrait painter. However, his aesthetic inclinations led him to a more expressionistic and non-specific figuration. He graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts and after a stint in the Army, began teaching and serving as the head of the graphics department at the California School for the Arts where he gained recognition and began to win a series of important awards.

He later joined the faculty at Stanford where he taught painting and print making. Today he is recognized, along with David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, et al, as a giant among the California post-war modernists and is most closely associated with the Bay Area Figurative movement.
It was said of his memorial exhibition of his last group of paintings that “They embodied the qualities that he was seeking all his life: beauty, timelessness, and mystery. They seemed to belong to another world, just beyond what can be put into words.”

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