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David Park, Painter: Nothing Held Back Hardcover – September 16, 2009


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David Park, Painter: Nothing Held Back + David Park: A Painter's Life + Elmer Bischoff: The Ethics of Paint
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Hills; First Edition edition (September 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555953204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555953201
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Helen Park Bigelow, daughter of the well-known painter David Park, has written fiction and personal essays for most of her life. She has been studying her father's work for decades, absorbing and reflecting on the nuance and layers of his passion to paint.

Her writings have appeared in various publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, the Monterey Herald, House Beautiful, and the Museum of California Magazine. Her essay in House Beautiful was included in the magazine's 1995 anthology Thoughts of Home.

Bigelow, 76, earned her living making pottery in the Bay Area for many years. She has three daughters and four grandchildren and lives on the island of Maui with her husband of thirty years, Edward B. Bigelow. "The rainbows often interrupt me," Bigelow says, "but somehow I still keep on writing."

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
Helen Park Bigelow's book is a must for anyone interested in 20th century American art.
Pat Ordway
I am glad his daughter wrote such a compelling book about her father, not only the paintings, but also the delicate story is spellbounding!
Paul Edelstein
A half century since his death painter David Park is widely recognized as one of America's most important 20th century painters.
Midwest Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Seed on December 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
David Park the man, and David Park the painter both come alive in his daughter's intimate memoir. For those who admire Park's paintings, reading this book will answer many questions about his background and his character. As author Helen Park Bigelow candidly points out, there are some mysteries that remain, but the book is the most complete portrait of Park that will ever be published. It is also the story of a marriage and of the family life of a man just selfish enough to be a painter, and of his devoted wife who overcame her own problems to care for him at the end of his life. Keep in mind, this isn't a book that has a critical tone, but rather a daughter's effort to tell us what she can about a father she always called "David." The chapter describing Park's final show in New York and his death of bone cancer is especially moving and compelling. Park was an American original whose work brought a hint of the anxiety of European expressionism into the American figurative tradition. As Henry Geldzahler once stated, he moved the tradition of the figure in painting forward. David and his works are worth knowing, and this book is a fitting tribute that recalls Park with affection, respect and candor. The book also reproduces many of his works, including a moving selection of the works on paper he completed just prior to his death.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A half century since his death painter David Park is widely recognized as one of America's most important 20th century painters. David Park, Painter: Nothing Held Back celebrates his life and art, is written by his younger daughter, and provides a survey of her father's life, early death, and painting contributions. It blends memoir with history about life in the bay Area just before and after World war II, supplementing these insights with full-page color reproductions of selected Park works. A 'must' for any serious American painting history collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pat Ordway on November 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Helen Park Bigelow's book is a must for anyone interested in 20th century American art. It is not only a joy to look at but Ms. Bigelow's chronicle of her father's too short but very full life gives the reader the feeling of really knowing this remarkable man and great artist David Park. The writing is engaging; warm, funny, sad and her sharing of anecdotes about family and friends such as Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff round out this beautifully produced book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles Johnson on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written by the daughter of David Park, he being considered by many (including myself) as the best of the Bay Area Figurative Artists of the 1950's and 1960's (Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, Manuel Neri, Elmer Bischoff, etc.), this biography offers a splendid 'behind the scenes' look at a great painter, a master of color, and is lavishly illustrated with his works. Its only sin, totally excusable, is an occasional bit of over-sentimentality, but then again, it's the voice of an admiring daughter. Five stars, five stars, and more of same.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
David Park (March 17, 1911 - September 20, 1960) was a painter and a pioneer of the Bay Area Figurative School of painting during the 1950s, a school of artists he helped form that included Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff. He presence was keenly felt in the formation of the careers of Nathan Oliveira, Manuel Neri, Joan Brown, Paul Wonner and Theophilus Brown, and Henry Villiermme. His work was a marriage of abstract style used to create representational paintings: blocks of color became human forms without any pretense of trying to hide the direction he was taking. He loved life and painted his observation of bathers, rowers, people and children in parks and on the street, but most of these impressions he painted from memory while ensconced in his studio.

The Foreword to this rather heft book is by Richard Armstrong who gives a fine overview of the place of Parks in the arena of the Bay Figurative Artists. The book is rich in fine color reproductions of his paintings from throughout his career. The written portion of this near catalogue raisonné is by his daughter Helen Park Bigelow and is more a memoir than a critical approach to the artist's work. But that works very well for Parks the painter, emphasizing his homespun approach to his family, friends and work. His career was brief (he died at age 49 from bone cancer) but the impact he had on the art world is still being measured. This is as solid a book about the artist as is available at present. Grady Harp, May 11
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Edelstein on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
David Park is the best figure painter that I know. I am glad his daughter wrote such a compelling book about her father, not only the paintings, but also the delicate story is spellbounding!
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