Jay DeFeo ’50, M.A. ’51

“I believe the only real moments of happiness and a feeling of aliveness and completeness occur when I swing a brush,” wrote DeFeo in a letter to her mother in 1952. At the heart of the Beat Generation  — San Francisco’s historic community of musicians, artists, and poets —   DeFeo resisted conventional materials in her exploration of painting, collage, drawing, and other forms. From 1958 to 1966, she was singularly obsessed with creating The Rose, a monumental work so thick with paint that it blurred the lines between sculpture and painting. Although DeFeo was not well known outside of the West Coast when she died of cancer at age 60, she is receiving due praise today. Museum-goers can enjoy an in-depth retrospective of her work at SFMOMA through Feb. 3, 2013, or find more information through the Jay DeFeo Trust or the trust’s page on Facebook.

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