CHARLOTTE JACKSON FINE ART PRESENTS:

Frederick Hammersley  1919 - 2009

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Frederick Hammersley photo

"Painting is just like living. After you make the first move, every other move is related to it," Frederick Hammersley once remarked. In his life, as in his work, one thing has just seemed to lead to another. He describes the beginning of his artistic career, when he was still in his teens, as a stint painting signs for a movie theater, for the princely sum of a dollar for an afternoon's work. After he received encouragement for this work, art school was the logical next step.

Hammersley subsequently attended Chouinard and Jepson in Los Angeles, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, with time out in between to run the art department of the Information and Education Section Office of Military Government in Frankfurt and Berlin, during and immediately following World War II. The combination of classical art training and the opportunity to study at first hand the great works housed in the museums of Europe developed both his hand and his eye. It only remained for Hammersley to find his own individual vision. "I was painting art school studies, but I didn't really know why. At a certain point I just couldn't do it any more."

The resolution to this dilemma came about quite by accident, to hear Hammersley tell it. In fact it was a prime example of his willingness and ability to wait for the next "move" to appear, and to grasp the opportunity when it arose. He had decided to paint a self-portrait and had divided the canvas into 16 rectangles as a basis for the composition. Then, as he considered the next step, a solid blue shape presented itself to his mind as the "right" thing for one of the rectangles -- a shape and color having nothing to do with the painting of his face that he had planned. He vacillated, unsure of which course to pursue, but ultimately decided to paint the square as he saw it in his imagination. As soon as the new shape and color (or colorform, as the elements in his paintings later came to be called) were down on the canvas, an adjacent square attracted his attention. With less hesitation, he followed his impulse and filled in the "right" color and shape; before long, the empty canvas had become a painting and Hammersley had found the direction he had been seeking.

This direction has provided a rich field of inquiry. Hammersley has been particularly interested in resolving oppositions between contrasting colors and shapes. In pursuing this goal, he has developed a process that involves a notebook of initial ideas with rudimentary drawings and another notebook with more detailed drawings of ideas that appear promising; these notebooks are in themselves works of art. Once he has settled on an idea, Hammersley applies one colorform at a time to the canvas, waiting as long as it takes for the next one to appear clearly in his imagination as "right" for the painting. He calls these "hunch paintings" and compares the process to the structure of a pinecone, in which the shape and placement of each element is dependent on those that surround it.

This analogy applies equally to the course of his career. By paying attention to the immediate next step in developing his art, Hammersley has created a body of work that has been exhibited in major museums and is represented in important collections. He takes it all in stride, confident that his intuition will continue to supply him with the right next move.

Born, Salt Lake City, Utah

Education

1936-38 University of Idaho, Pocatello, ID
1940-42 Chouinard Art School, Los Angeles, CA
1945 Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1946-47 Chouinard Art School, Los Angeles, CA
1947-50 Jepson Art School, Los Angeles, CA

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2007 Hunches, Geometrics, Organics: Paintings by Frederick Hammersley, Pomona College Museum of Art, Pomona, CA
2006 Hard Edge, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2004 Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2003 LA Louver, Los Angeles, CA
2000 Visual Puns and Hard-Edge Poems, Laguna Beach Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
1999-2002 I've Been Here All the While, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA
1999 Visual Puns and Hard-Edge Poems, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1999 Visual Puns and Hard-Edge Poems, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1995 Modernism, San Francisco, CA
1993 The Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
1993 Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1992 Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
1990 Modernism, San Francisco, CA
1989-90 Paris, Berlin, Albuquerque, California State University, Northridge, CA
1989 Graham Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1988 Statement 88, New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque, NM
1987 Modernism, San Francisco, CA
1986 Hoshour Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1984 Hoshour Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1981 L.A. Louver, Venice, CA
1978 L.A. Louver, Venice, CA
1977 Middendorf/Lane Galleries, Washington, DC
1975 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1969 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1966 Hollis Galleries, San Francisco, CA
1965 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1963 La Jolla Art Museum, La Jolla, CA
Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1962 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
1961 Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA

INVITATIONAL EXHIBITIONS

1998 Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA
1993 The Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University, Topeka, KS
Miniatures, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1992 Miniatures, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1991 Miniatures, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1989-90 The Alcove Show, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1989 Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM
1987 Artists Space Gallery, New York, NY
1986 Four Abstract Classicists, R.C. Erpf, Gallery, New York, NY
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1985-86 Potential Acquisitions, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
1980-81 Here and Now, 35 Artists in New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1977 35th Biennial, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Private Images: Photographs by Painters, L.A. County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
California: Five Footnotes to Modern Art History, L.A. County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
1968 Computer Drawings, University of Illinois
1965 The Responsive Eye, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1964 California Hard Edge, Balboa Pavilion, Balboa, CA
1962 Fifty California Artists, Whitney Museum, New York, NY
Geometric Abstraction in America, Whitney Museum, New York, NY

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS

2007-2009 Birth of the Cool, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Oakland Museum of California Oakland, Oakland, CA, The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
1994-96 Still Working, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (traveled to The Chicago
Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; The New School for Social Research, New York, NY; The Virginia Beach Center for the Arts, Virginia Beach, VA; The Fischer Art Gallery at U.S.C., Los Angeles, CA; The Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR
1990-92 Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists 1920-1956, Museums in Laguna Beach, CA;
Oakland, CA; San Antonio, TX; Logan, UT; Santa Barbara, CA; Palm Springs, CA
1979-80 The First Western States Biennial Exhibition, Museums in Denver, CO;
Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Newport Harbor, CA; Illinois State University; Santa Fe, NM
1974 Geometric Abstraction, University of Nebraska, Lincoln and Omaha, NE; Hastings College
1970-72 The Drawing Society National Exhibition, American Federation of Arts
1969-70 Computer Drawings, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England; Simon Frazer University, Vancouver, BC
1965-67 Art Across America, Meade Corporation
1960-61 Purist Painting, American Federation of the Arts
1959-60 Four Abstract Classicists, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco,
CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England; Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland; Western Association of Art Museums
1957-58 California Drawings, throughout Western states

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

M. Knoedler Gallery J. B. Speed Museum
Smithsonian Institute Houston Museum of Art
Corcoran Gallery of Art Butler Institute of American Art
Albright-Knox Museum San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Walker Art Center University of California at Los Angeles
LA County Museum of Art International Art Fair L.A. 1987, 1988, 1989
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts Richard Levy Gallery
Snyder Fine Art SITE Santa Fe
Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

Corcoran Gallery of Art Mr. Harry Bellafonte
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Mr. Vincent Price
Mr. Howard Ahmonson L.A. County Museum of Art
Mr. David E. Bright Butler Institute of American Art
Dr. Seymour Slive, Fogg Museum University Art Museum, Berkeley
Dr. H.P. Widdup The Oakland Museum
Mr. Nicholas Wilder The Washington Post
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Petersburg Press, London
La Jolla Museum of Art United States Navy
University of New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe
Foote Cone and Belding Mr. Gerald E. Buck
Albuquerque Museum Mr. Jeffrey Rhodes
University of Nebraska Roswell Museum and Art Center

AWARDS

1991 Guest Artist, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
1988 Guest Artist, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
1977 National Endowment for the Arts in Painting
1975 National Endowment for the Arts in Painting
1973 Guest Artist, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting
1966 Purchase, All City Art Annual, Los Angeles, CA
1965 Purchase, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, CA
1964 Purchase, All City Art Annual, Los Angeles, CA
1963 1st Purchase, 18th Annual Newport Harbor, CA
1961 Purchase, Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio
1960 1st Purchase, City of Claremont, CA

TEACHING

1968-71 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1964-68 Chouinard Art School, Los Angeles, CA
1953-62 Pomona College, Claremont, CA
1956-61 Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA
1948-51 Jepson Art School, Los Angeles, CA

PUBLICATIONS

2007 “Hunches, Geometrics, Organics:Paintings by Frederick Hammersley”, Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont , CA
“Birth of the Cool”, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
“California Cool”, by Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly, Mar.
2006 “Frederick Hammersley”, by Wesley Pulkka, Santa Fe Trend
“The Comeback Classicist”, by Elizabeth Cook-Romero, The New Mexican, July 7-13
“Artist’s Paintings Focus on Classic Abstraction”, by Wesley Pulkka, Albuquerque Journal, July 30th
2005 “2005 Governor’s Awards”, by Elizabeth Cook-Romero, Pasatiempo, Sept. 23-29
2004 “Paintings Blend Color,Intuition,Technique”, by Wesley Pulkka, Albuquerque Journal, March 7th
“Painting Paradox”, by Jo Ann Baldinger, The New Mexican, March 12-18 “Ahead of His Time, The Art of Frederic Hammersley”, by Ashleigh Morris, Santa Fean, Sept. issue
“Seeing Hammersley Whole”, by Arden Reed, Art in America, Nov.
2003 “Frederick Hammersley”, by Bruce Hainley, Art Forum, Oct.
2002 “Frederick Hammersley, From Abstract to Inventive Clarity”, by David Pagel, LA Times, Jan. 18
1999 Visual Puns and Hard-Edge Poems, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New
Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
“His Specialty: One Liners”, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, Art & Architecture, Aug. 22
1991 "Painting from Left Field," by Kathleen Shields, Art in America, January
1989 "Personal Abstract Language of F. Hammersley," by Sandy Ballatore, Artspace, Nov.-Dec.
The California Art Survey, Les Krantz, American References
1985 Art in Your Environment, 2nd edition, Brommer and Horn, Davis Publishing
Art in Your World, 2nd edition, Brommer and Horn, Davis Publishing
1979 Visual Art, Mathematics and Computers, Malina Pergamon
Who's Who in the West, 17th edition
1977 Art News, January, May
1974 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
International Who's Who in Art and Antiques, England
Dictionary of International Biography, Cambridge, England
Who's Who in Contemporary Art, New York
1973-present Who's Who in American Art
1970 "My Geometrical Paintings," by F. Hammersley, Leonardo, Vol. 3, Pergamon Press
1969 "My First Experience with Computer Drawings," by F. Hammersley, Vol. 2, Pergamon Press
1965 Das Kunstwerk, 10-2 XVII, April-June
Vogue, February 15
Artforum, Feb. 15
1964 West Coast Hard-edge, by Lawrence Alloway, Institute for Contemporary Art, London/U.S.I.S.
1963 Artforum, Vol. 1, #8
1962 Abstract Painting, by Michel Seuphor, Abrams
Artforum, Vol. 1, #7
Art News, February, May
1960 Art International
Art News, September
1959 Four Abstract Classicists, by Jules Langsner, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the L.A. County Museum of Art
Art in America, nominated, "New Talent for 1959"
Arts, December
Art News, September

TELEVISION

1994 "Still Working," Curator Stuart Shedletsky and artists F. Hammersley, Florence Pierce, Louise Falkenstein, Mala Breuer and others, Sunday Morning with Charles Kurault, CBS, June

1990 "The Art of Growing Older," F. Hammersley, Wilson Hurley and Charles Mattox,
Colores, KNME, Public Broadcasting System, February

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