For your consideration, a painting by the noted Northern Californian artist Alvin (Al) W. Need (1911-1986). The circa 1960- 1970’s Abstract Expressionist painting reflects the aesthetics associated with the Bay Area modernist movement of the 1970’s; abstract expressionism and minimalism are seen in the painting’s stylized color fields, “action painting” paint handling, and saturated color palette9 ½” x 9 ½” (11 ¾” x 11 ¾’ framed). The acrylic on canvas work is signed “Al Need” and measures 16” x 16”; is in good over-all condition, but does exhibit paint chipping (common to all works by Need). This highly stylized circa 1970’s work represents a rare opportunity to acquire a work by a noted member of the California school painters, regionally well respected.
Alvin Need Bio: Al Need, was born and raised a New Englander, born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1911, one of six children. As a young man, he studied briefly at the Fine Art School at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA. It was during this time that Frederick Waugh's powerful seascapes were winning prizes at the annual Carnegie International and exerting a strong influence on Need's own desire to paint seascapes. When he was a young man in his early twenties, Need moved to California where he was introduced to the work of William Ritschel, a noted Carmel painter of the sea whose work is in the Monterey Museum of Art's permanent collection. Ritschel, Homer, Turner, and Waugh were his primary painter influences, and he was particularly interested in the writings of Carl Jung, but he, essentially, was a self-taught artist.
In Southern California in the late thirties Al Need worked for Lockheed and Martin, transcribing complicated blueprints into a user-friendly format so that women who worked in the factories building planes and war machinery during WW II could understand the drawings. It was 1938 that Need began his own experiments with painting the sea. Need married Vinie Hudson, and in 1941 and moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 1947, where he worked for the Naval Post Graduate School and the Army Language School, now known as the Defense Language Institute, illustrating language text books with stick figures while raising two young daughters, Venée and Susan, and where he began painting in earnest. During the postwar fifties he built two rustic houses, as did many of the artists and writers who settled the now famous Huckleberry Hill of Monterey, and Del Monte Park area of Monterey County. Al Need spent sixteen years painting the Carmel and Pacific Grove coastline, exhibiting his work at the Carmel Art Association and the well-known Pebble Beach Art Gallery. In the early 1960's, Need married Lois Dailey and moved to Paradise, CA with her five children, and the youngest to soon to arrive. They had heard of the nascent but growing art community of Mendocino and decided to move the area in 1962, opening the family run Workbench, a studio gallery located in a small cubbyhole space next door to the Chevron gas station on Main Street just as one drives into town on the old highway. There, he sat gallery while painting in full view of public scrutiny. His paintings sold like hotcakes right off the easel before they were even finished. At the time he was experimenting and developing personal color theories and painting seascapes that looked as if they were monochromatic, although it was a term he eschewed, claiming his paintings were not merely one color. However, blue or yellow or gold, sometimes red or green, these apparent color schemes predominated his paintings. After closing The Workbench, he opened the Al & Lois Need Studio Gallery in the Gallery Fair building owned by Warren Zimmer of Mendocino.
Publications: "The Redwood Record", Garberville, CA "Mendocino Artist to Present Demonstration Here Tonight" WestArt, "Art In Mendocino" 2/21/1969 by Ann Vrooman "Mendocino Artists" 4/12/1974, by Ann Vrooman American Artist, "Art In California," May 1968 Mendocino Beacon, 1973 Ann Vrooman 1986 - Obituary
Carmel Art Association, Carmel, CA Pebble Beach Gallery, Pebble Beach, CA Zacha's Bay Window Gallery, Mendocino, CA Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA 1965 University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, CA Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, CA Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA Al & Lois Need Studio Gallery/The Workbench Gallery, Mendocino, CA Erickson Gallery, Palo Alto, CA Highland Gallery, Mendocino, CA - retrospective Gallery West, Mendocino, CA Austin Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA The Family Gallery/Quercia Gallery & Frame Shop, Duncans Mills, CA (currently shows his work) Cross Fine Arts Gallery, San Carlos, CA Chico, Paradise, CA and Detroit and Cincinnati
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