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Hayward King Painting

Hayward King
(1928 - 1990)

c. 1949/50
Oil on canvas
46½" x 46½"

Signed lower right and verso

Mark Rothko, Collection of SFMOMA

Hayward King (1928 – 1990) 


Painter and printmaker Hayward King moved from Pasadena to San Francisco in the early summer of 1949 with fellow students Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington, David Simpson, and John Allen Ryan to attend the San Francisco School of Fine Arts (SFAI). Hedrick, in his American Archives of Art interview with Paul Karlstrom mentions meeting Rothko that summer at CSFA. King's influences were determined by the teachers at CSFA, which included: Clyfford Still, Elmer Bishoff, Hassel Smith, David Park, Richard Diebenkorn (a graduate student who taught at night), Edward Corbett, and Mark Rothko. In the summer of 1949, Rothko again taught summer school classes. When Rothko was invited to teach summer school at CSFA in 1947, McAgy provided Rothko with a small studio that he also accessed in 1949. Rothko had his own CSFA studio with assistants, contact with Clyfford Still, income, and a community of artists surrounding him.


In the book 'Rothko - A Biography," Janes Breslin p.262", he expressed his 1947 summer teaching at CSFA as "magical" in contrast to the "stinking mess" on 57th Street. Still's influence generated dark earthy colors, while Rothko's presented soft edges. Many CSFA students, including King, were highly influenced by these two iconic East Coast artists/teachers.


King was uninterested in the commercially oriented schools of Southern California, which King found "too rigid" and had heard of SFAI by reputation - according to King, it was "the only place to go on [the West] Coast." King and his close friend Hedrick were drafted into the Korean War in 1950 and returned to SFAI after two years of service. King completed his California School of Fine Arts BFA in 1955. King, along with Remington, Hedrick, Simpson, Ryan, and Jack Spicer, co-founded the Six Gallery in 1955, where Allen Ginsberg first read his iconic poem, "Howl." Besides being a successful artist and intellectual, King also studied museum management. King received a Fulbright scholarship in 1955 - 56 to study at the Sorbonne and became Edward Weston's personal assistant in 1957. From 1958-1962 he was the registrar at the San Francisco Art Institute and the first African-American museum administrator in the Bay Area, as the registrar of the San Francisco Museum of Art (now the Museum of Modern Art), 1962-1966. Hayward also served as the second vice president, Western Association of Art Museums, 1968-1970, and was the curator at Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, 1970-1974. He taught at San Francisco State University, 1971-1978; was the curatorial consultant at Palo Alto Cultural Center, 1972-1976; and was the director at Stuart Gallery, Berkeley, 1978-1979.  He also served as the director of the Richmond Art Center from 1966-70 at a time when a queer, black director of an arts institution was unheard of.


Museums and Exhibitions
1955  The Six Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1959  San Francisco Museum of Art. 78th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association
1959  Spatsa Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1960  California Palace of The Legion of Honor, San Francisco, winter invitationals.
1960  Edward Dean Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1961  California Palace of The Legion of Honor, San Francisco, winter invitationals. 

1963  University of California, Davis, CA


Susan Landauer, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism
Thomas Albright, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980

Lyrical Vision: The Six Gallery, 1954-1957

The Art of California, Selected Works from the Collection of the Oakland Museum

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