Diebenkorn in the Bedroom, DeFeo in the Den: Generous Gifts from the Dixon and Barbara Farley Collection

Jay DeFeo
Detail, Snake River Canyon, 1974
Acrylic on ragboard
10 × 15 inches

Richard Serra
Bessie Smith, 1999
44 × 36 inches
Edition 8 of 35

Claes Oldenburg
Proposal for a Cathedral in the Form of a Sink Faucet for Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, 1972
Offset lithograph
32 ¼ × 24 ¾ inches
Edition 40 of 300

Saturday, October 3, 2015Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dixon and Barbara Farley shared their Marin home with an impressive, constantly growing collection of modern and contemporary art. Dixon Farley’s dedication (in particular to the work of Bay Area artists) never faltered, and he added new works to his collection up until his death in 2011. He had long wanted this carefully selected group of works to find an appreciative and appropriate public venue and, in 2000, he and Barbara made a promised gift of seventy-three artworks to SJMA—“a terrific home for my collection,” he said. Now, fifteen years later, the San Jose Museum of Art has the honor of exhibiting this intimate collection for the first time.

A talented painter himself, Dixon Farley enjoyed personal relationships with the artists whose work he collected and encouraged their development over many years. Enthusiasm and perseverance guided him. Dixon’s prescient acquisitions now strengthen the Museum’s holdings of California art and of works by internationally acclaimed artists who were previously unrepresented in the collection.

These artworks are intimate in scale; they covered every square inch of wall space in the Farleys’ home. Included are Jay DeFeo’s delicate renderings, Richard Diebenkorn’s works on paper, Willem de Kooning’s explosive compositions, and Philip Guston’s dynamic drawings. The scope of the collection is expansive yet personal: a powerful etching by Richard Serra, a delicate floral study by Alex Katz, and witty abstractions by Peter Wegner, alongside works by Milton Avery, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Red Grooms, Frank Lobdell, Brice Marden, John M. Miller, Henry Moore, and Claes Oldenburg.

Generously sponsored by Doris and Alan Burgess.