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  • Description
    James McCray (1912 - 1993)

    James McCray was born in Niles, Fremont California on October 1, 1912. In 1934-35 McCray received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Berkeley. His first noted public art exhibition was in 1935 at the Oakland Art Gallery.

    In 1937 McCray received a grant to study at the prestigious Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania and the following year the foundation awarded him a grant to study and travel in Europe. McCray would return to California in 1939 to work in the art department at UC Berkeley.

    James McCray gained notoriety in 1940 when two of his works were exhibited in the Palace of Fine Arts exhibition at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. That same year he received and was awarded Honorable Mention at the 60th Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association. In 1941 James McCray began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) now the San Francisco Art Institute. The school’s board of directors at the CSFA selected McCray to “introduce a new spirit of modernism in what had become a conservative, academic program.” McCray would go on to appoint a colleague of his at the Barnes Foundation, Douglas MacAgy to serve on the board of directors at CSFA. Under McCray’s and MacAgy’s influence, the faculty would hire Elmer Bischoff, Clifford Still, and David Park. After World War II, the school became a nucleus for Abstract Expressionism, with faculty including Clyfford Still, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, David Park, Elmer Bischoff , Richard Diebenkorn and Clay Spohn.

    During the mid-1940’s, McCray had developed a distinctive style of geometric abstraction related to graphs, maps, and other kinds of diagrams. It was based on linear grids, irregular in size and interval that were played against small squares and rectangles of bright color and an occasional larger color plane intersected by diagonal lines in the manner of a mechanical drawing projection (Albright, Thomas. “Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945 - 1980”).

    James McCray left CSFA in 1946 and in 1947 he was invited to re-join the Berkeley Art Department, where he remained until becoming professor emeritus in 1982. James McCray passed away in 1993, in Walnut Creek, California.

    Education and Teaching
    1934 University of California Berkeley, B.A.
    1935 University of California Berkeley, M.A.
    1936 University of California Berkeley, Teaching assistant to Worth Ryder, John Haley
    1937 Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
    1937-1939 Barnes Foundation Grant to study and travel in Europe
    1941-1946 California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
    1946 1947 University of Washington, Pullman, WA
    1947-1982 University of California Berkeley

    Exhibitions and Awards
    1935 Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA
    1937 57th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition, San Francisco, CA
    1940 60th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1940 Golden Gate International Exhibition, San Francisco, CA
    1942 62nd Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1945 65th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1945 Awarded the Anne Bremer Memorial Prize for abstract painting.
    1948 Eighth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, Abstact and Surreal American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
    1949 68th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1950 69th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1955 74th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1956 75th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1957 76th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1959 78th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1960 79th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1961 80th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    1962 Winter Invitational, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
    1963 Winter Invitational, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
    1964 Winter Invitational, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
    1965-1966 Salon de Realite, Paris, France

    Literature
    2005 AskART.com Inc. - Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson (Editor). The Artists Bluebook 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005
    2005 Davenport, Ray. Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition
    2002 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California: 1786-1940 (Two Volumes)
    2002 McClelland, Gordon T; Jay T. Last. California Watercolors 1850-1970, An Illustrated History & Biographical Dictionary
    1999 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, 3 volumes
    1998 Moure, Nancy Dustin Wall. California Art: 450 Years of Painting & Other Media
    1991 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). The Annual & Biennial Exhibition Record of the Whitney Museum of Art (Exhibition catalog)
    1990 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago (Exhibition catalog)
    1989 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940
    1985 Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980/An Illustrated History
    1985 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947
    1984 Orr-Cahill, Christina. The Art of California Selected Works at the Oakland Museum
    1976 San Francisco Mus Modern Art. Painting & Sculpture in California The Modern Era
    1967 Howe, Thomas C. Painters Behind Painters An Exhibition of Central California Artists(Exhibition catalog)
    1935. Mallett, Daniel Trowbridge. Index of Artists: International-Biographical Two Volumes

    Museums (exhibited)
    San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
    Legion of Honor (formerly The California Palace of the Legion of Honor), San Francisco, CA
    Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
    Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
    Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY
    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
    Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, DC
    Salon de Realite, Paris, France

    Sources:
    University of California. Calisphere, UC Libraries
    Edan Hughes, "Artists in California 1786-1940"
    David Keaton, www.ModernArtWest.com
    David Carlson, Carlson Gallery
    www.askART.com

    California Art Company is Actively Seeking to Acquire Paintings by James McCray

    California Art Company, LLC is actively seeking to acquire fine art paintings by James McCray. If you have a painting by James McCray that you would like to sell please email photos and your asking price to greg@californiaartcompany.com or give us a call at (818) 398-7363.

    Oil on canvas
    42" x 36"

    Framed Size: 42¾ Inches x 36¾ Inches
    Price: Upon Request

    Provenance
    Carlson Gallery, Rancho Mirage, CA
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Period: 1950-1979
    Materials: Oil on canvas, 42" x 36"
    Styles / Movements: Abstract Expressionism
    Incollect Reference #: 191045
  • Dimensions
    W. 36 in; H. 42 in;
    W. 91.44 cm; H. 106.68 cm;
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