San Francisco

Charles Safford

San Francisco Art Center

This is a memorial exhibition of selected paintings by Charles Saf­ford, veteran Bay Area painter who died at the age of 63 last year. Mr. Safford was a gifted and eloquent Abstract Expressionist whose work shows little affinity either with New York or West Coast trends of his time. While at first admittedly influenced by Hans Hofmann, Safford soon evolved a style that was lyrical and Romantic in its opulence of rich, sensuous color and its tangential evocation of the exhila­rating spaciousness of forest and mountain landscape. His work of the “Swan Valley” period became almost a metamorphosis of the landscape moods of such European Expressionists as Kirchner and early Kandinsky, and has many affinities with the highly abstract­ed landscapes of Jawlensky. A few of Safford’s last canvases reveal him a­bandoning the romanticism of his earlier work for a greater asperity of statement and simplification of form, still, however, in a grand manner with a great deal of flair for dramatic slash­ing, compositional rhythms and vibrant contrasts of color.

Palmer D. French