NATHAN OLIVEIRA (1928-2010)

NATHAN OLIVEIRA Heather James Fine Art is pleased to announce the commencement of our association with the Oliveira Family Estate and our initial offering of more than forty paintings, sculptures and graphics by Nathan Oliveira. A Californian whose work is of preeminent importance during the post war period, Oliveira is most often associated with Park, Diebenkorn and the other artists with whom he sketched early in his career. Yet it was not an oversight when Oakland Museum director Paul Mills chose not to include Oliveira in the 1957 exhibition “Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting.” All came to figuration by initiating a sophisticated dialogue with abstraction, yet it is Oliveira, the often characterized ambivalent loner among Bay Area artists whose work is most often compared to Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, or Willem de Kooning with whom he shared walls and space at The Images of Man exhibition held in New York at the Museum of Modern Art in 1959.  

During the early years, Oliveira’s lone figures often suggested an existential angst similar to that of Giacometti, but there was also a weightlessness and a transcendent aura that envelopes these figures; they appear as elemental, universal and eternal projections of selfless consciousness better understood within the bodiless realm of metaphysics.  These qualities would remain in his work throughout his long career, yet he  would find other themes to explore — the natural world where the essential nature of birds and animals exist in equal profundity with their human counterparts, the transient world of evanescent perception when memory must reconstruct momentary experience, and later, the ‘site’ paintings and monoprints that suggest the abandoned remnants of a long-lost civilization or tribe uncovered at an archeological dig.

Through and through, flesh to bones, and bones to dust Nathan Oliveira has left us with a legacy of art that will surely remain untarnished by time or changing trends. His work exists within a realm rarely achieved by artists striving in a similar mode of expression. Unclouded by ego or wayward sentiment, it is also in the warmth and humble nature of Nathan Oliveira’s character that we celebrate a life well lived. His work is as he summarized, “about figuration…about nature…and (the) universal, not specific…These are issues that allow me to paint something that I find quite central and beautiful…I’m not trying to create issues of art. I don’t want to be the center of the art world. I really prefer to simply to part of it; not only the part of it that’s working today, but yesterday and the time before that. And if I can somehow connect all the way back to the caves I’d be most happy. Maybe that’s where I belong anyway.”

NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Standing Figure #4
oil on canvas
66 x 54 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Antlers
oil, alkyd and wax on canvas
84 x 70 x 1 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Han Stele with Wheels
oil and alkyd on canvas
84 x 70 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Seated Man in Room
oil on canvas
78 x 60 x 1 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Couple with Red
oil on canvas
50 1/8 x 42 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Figure #4
bronze
40 x 21 1/2 x 30 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Seated Nude with Arms Raised
oil on canvas
50 1/8 x 45 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Untitled
oil on canvas
84 X 63 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Woman
oil on canvas
36 1/4 x 27 x 1 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Gray Head in Grays and Blue
oil on canvas
25 3/8 x 21 1/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Hawk #11
oil on canvas
11 3/4 x 8 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Standing Figure #2
bronze
26 x 16 x 23 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Runner (Ochre)
bronze
17 x 16 x 23 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Homage to Giacommetti (in same show)
watercolor on paper
11 7/8 x 8 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Homage to Schoenberg
monotype
29 3/4 x 22 1/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Figure
monotype
22 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Mask #6 (Red)
bronze and acrylic
9 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Imi #54
watercolor and charcoal on paper
24 x 19 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Girl with Teddy
watercolor and pencil on paper
15 1/4 x 19 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Mask #6 (Maroon with Green Ear)
bronze and acrylic
9 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Head #8
oil on panel
14 x 11 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Mask #2
bronze with custom patina
9 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Mask #7
bronze
9 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
New Mexican Site #16
monotype, hand-painted
26 x 30 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Mask #6 (Metallic)
bronze with acrylic
9 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Head #5
oil on panel
8 x 6 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Head #6
oil on panel
8 x 6 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Standing Figure
color sugar lift and spite bite aquatints with hard-ground etching
image: 45 x 36 in. sheet: 51 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Twin Runners
suger lift and spite bite aquatints with soft-ground etching
45 x 36 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Twin Runners
suger lift and spite bite aquatints with soft-ground etching
45 x 36 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Untitled (Figurative Painting #1)
acrylic on paper
40 5/8 x 27 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Figure, Arm Stand
monotype
17 1/2 x 15 1/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Nude I
monotype
20 3/8 x 14 5/8 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Baboon (Black)
drypoint with aquatint
44 1/4 x 39 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Copper Plate Nude 2
color spit bite etching with aquatint
16 x 12 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Acoma Hawk I
seven-color lithograph
30 x 22 1/2 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Acoma Hawk IV
four-color lithograph
30 1/8 x 22 1/8 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Acoma Hawk III
ten-color lithograph
30 1/8 x 21 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Small Figure #3
bronze with unique patina
6 1/4 x 4 x 2 3/4 in.
NATHAN OLIVEIRA
Small Figure #2
bronze with unique patina
6 1/4 x 4 x 2 3/4 in.
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