Item: Fred Hocks Inversion, 1937
Designer/Maker: Fred Hocks (1886-1981)
No painter embodies San Diego’s early avant-garde more than Fred (Ferdinand) Hocks, a German-born painter who began visiting San Diego in the late 1920s after studies at the California School of Fine Art in San Francisco and the Art Students League in New York. Fellow painter Dan Dickey credited Hocks in 1947 with “opening up pathways for future, more enlightened generations (of artists),” and predicted that Fred Hocks would be “esteemed a master.”
During the post-war years Hocks was assistant director of the San Diego School of Arts and Crafts, a private art school in La Jolla, and was instrumental in keeping affordable artist’s studios in Spanish Village. Along with modern architect Lloyd Ruocco, Fred Hocks co-founded the dynamic Allied Artists Council with Belle Baranceanu, Everett Gee Jackson, Dan Dickey and John Olsen.
The well-travelled Hocks exhibited in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Paris, Mallorca and Guadalajara, had several one-person shows at the Art Center La Jolla/La Jolla Museum of Art and at the Fine Arts Gallery (SDMA). The San Diego Museum of Art held a major retrospective of his painting in 1976, just a few years before his death. He brought a continental element to the local art scene and is described in Bruce Kamerling’s 100 Years of Art in San Diego as “one of the most adventurous local artists…an intelligent and articulate defender of modern tendencies in art.” Local arts and architecture writer James Britton called Fred Hocks “the dean of the San Diego moderns.”
Description: Original 1937 watercolor on paper by Fred Hocks in original, 1960s walnut frame with replaced mat and UV acrylic. Inversion was exhibited at least three times as indicated by the labels that have been kept with it. This abstract geometric painting was included in his 1976 retrospective at the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery/San Diego Museum of Art (on loan from local gallery owner Lou Sander). It was also shown at the Frye Museum in 1967 and the La Jolla Museum of Art/MCASD at some point in the 1960s. Signed ‘Hocks’
Dimensions: 18-1/8″ x 25-1/8″ frame; 12″ x 18.5″ sight
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