New York

David Byrd, Auctioneer, 1970, oil on canvas, 34 × 28". White Columns.

David Byrd, Auctioneer, 1970, oil on canvas, 34 × 28". White Columns.

David Byrd

Anton Kern Gallery

For most of his life, the painter David Byrd (1926–2013) was known not as an artist but as a hospital orderly. After serving in World War II, he worked odd jobs before settling in at the Veterans Administration facility in Montrose, New York, laboring there for thirty years before retiring to paint full-time in 1988. In 2012, Byrd’s art was discovered by a neighbor. He was eighty-six years old and had only a year left to live. A 2013 exhibition at the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle was the first step in the familiar choreography for a so-called outsider artist striding to prominence. Byrd was able to attend the opening before dying of lung cancer in May of that year. His reputation has only grown since.

This winter, Byrd had two shows in major New York venues: one at Anton Kern Gallery, which featured landscapes, portraits, and hard-to-classify hybrids of the two, and the other at White

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.