Nathan Oliveira

Opening Celebration on June 2 at 5 pm, to coincide with the opening of Lowell Herrero.
Tickets on our Tickets & RSVP Page and on Eventbrite

Admission to the Spotlight Gallery is included with Museum Admission.

Nathan Oliveira was an American artist and prominent member of the second generation of the Bay Area Figurative artists. Though he worked with a variety of media, subjects, and disciplines over the course of his long career, Oliveira is best remembered for the brilliantly colored figurative and landscape paintings.  This exhibit will include sculptures and other artwork by this renowned California artist who influenced generations of artists, including his friend Lowell Herrero. Abstracted human silhouettes, delicate watercolors, and bronze works depicting distorted anatomy round out this exhibition celebrating the work of Nathan Oliveira, a skilled draftsman, gestural painter and figural sculptor. While he is remembered for his important role in the 1950s and 60s Bay Area Figurative Movement, European Expressionist movements were highly influential to Oliveira. He in turn influenced generations of artists, including his friend Lowell Herrero. The works included in this exhibition reflect humanistic themes of solitary figures, in contemplation and perhaps demonstrate experiences of our own condition.

Thank you to Joe Oliveira for generously selecting and loaning us these extraordinary works.

Nathan Oliveira (1928 – 2010)

Nathan Oliveira was an American artist and prominent member of the second generation of the Bay Area Figurative artists. Though he worked with a variety of media, subjects, and disciplines over the course of his long career, Oliveira is best remembered for the brilliantly colored figurative and landscape paintings he created while associated with the California movement. “For me, painting is that magical material, that beautiful stuff that was invented, the ground-up pigments in oil which makes it very malleable,” he had said. “It can be manipulated and changed, darkened, lightened, given different hues and colors, so that by manipulating this material somehow I can find that figure I’m looking for, that figure that represents all the issues I’m bringing up and addressing.” Oliveira’s works retain a sense of Expressionist looseness and melancholy, inspired by his interest in the works of Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon, and Edvard Munch. His work has been met with critical acclaim, receiving numerous honors such as a 1996 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a major retrospective in 2002, “The Art of Nathan Oliveira,” mounted by the San Jose Art Museum. The Windhover Contemplative Center, a structure completed in 2014 at Stanford University, permanently displays four of Oliveira’s paintings. Born in Oakland, CA on December 19, 1928, he died on November 13, 2010 in Stanford, CA at the age 81.