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Philip Guston, Monograph: Philip Guston (Hand signed and inscribed to major collector by Philip Guston), 1980
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Monograph: Philip Guston (Hand signed and inscribed to major collector by Philip Guston), 1980
Softback monograph (hand signed, inscribed and dated by Philip Guston to Mary Keesling)
Warmly signed and inscribed by Philip Guston to Mary Keesling on the title page
10 1/4 × 9 × 3/4 inches
If you're reading this description, then we hardly need to tell you, dear collector and Guston enthusiast, that autographed books (autographed anything) by Philip Guston are beyond scarce - let alone this one which has such special poignancy. Read on:
This softback monograph, hand signed and inscribed to renowned collector Mary Keesling in May, 1980 may very well be one of the very last books Guston ever signed before his unexpected heart attack at the age of 66 the following month on June 7th, 1980. In fact, Ms. Keesling herself must have been so shocked, that she laid in a xerox copy of Guston's New York Times obituary into the book, which accompanies it.
Guston's inscription reads:
For Mary Keesling
Fondly - and even
more so - as time
goes on -
The part of the inscription that reads "as time goes on" is heartbreaking, knowing that Guston would be dead only weeks later.
About Philip Guston:
Philip Guston grew up in Los Angeles, the youngest of seven children of Russian Jewish immigrants. After high school, Guston moved to New York and worked as a mural artist in the New Deal program, where he painted in a social realist style. By the mid-1950s, he had become an established member of the dominant school of spontaneous, gestural abstract painters. He created large canvases in which vividly colored brushstrokes define a nexus of activity against a muted background.
In 1970, however, Guston shocked the art world with a radical change of style and subject. His new paintings featured cartoonish figures in a lurid palette of pink, red, and black. Some of these later works are allegorical treatments of modern evil (represented, for example, by figures dressed in the hoods of the Ku Klux Klan), while others include autobiographical emblems of Guston’s own childhood struggles, adult life, and artistic process. Though at times he was heavily criticized for this shift away from abstraction, Guston remained devoted to figuration for the remainder of his career.
About Mary Keesling
Mary Heath Keesling August 10, 1914 - December 23, 2006 "My happiness comes from the creativity of others" Mary was daughter of the late Winifred and John Gilbert Heath, and niece of the late Alice and Rev. Henry Ohlhoff, pastor at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, 1923 - 1936. Mary graduated from the Katherine Delmar Burke School, and from the University of California Berkeley, where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. It should be noted that Mary was a competitive skeet shooter during this time. Mary married the late Francis V. Keesling, Jr. of San Francisco in 1937. As young marrieds, they enjoyed many opportunities including the enjoyable highlight of living in Washington, D.C., 1941 to 1945, where her husband, Frank, was appointed to a position by Brigadier General Lewis Hershey. Their son, Francis V. Keesling III (Frank) was born in Washington in 1943. After their return to San Francisco, Mary joined the Junior League of San Francisco, and through her provisional volunteer work at the Museum of Art, (then located in the Veteran's Building on Van Ness) her dedicated interest and appreciation of contemporary art was sparked. Mary was appointed by the late Mrs. Walter A. Haas, Sr., (Trustee) to establish a purchase fund in 1954 to buy local art for the museum's permanent collection. "Mary Keesling is credited with being responsible for choosing the Women's Board's acquisitions for the permanent collection, some which were very prescient choices that have had significant life in the collection. She clearly steered the Women's Board toward California artists, including Richard Diebenkorn, Bruce Conner, David Park, and Roy de Forest. Her own gifts to the museum are almost entirely works by California artists as well. Mary also supported a few early A&D acquisitions (Architecture and Design), specifically a selection of John Dickinson furniture acquired in 1979, four years before the department was established." Mary was a member of the MOMA Women's Board starting 1959, and subsequently held offices of 1st vice president, president and chairman. Mary was a member of the Artist's Circle and also a trustee 1974 - 1980, 1985-1987. Mary was also chair of the 50th Anniversary of MOMA with celebratory decor by her good friend, artist Jack Johansson. Steve Oliver, trustee and the present chairman of the board of San Francisco MOMA said, "She made the Bay Area art scene richer by her support and appreciation." Mary was a member of SECA, (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) at MOMA. Byron Meyer, art collector and former trustee of MOMA knew Mary when she first started collecting. "She encouraged her friends to visit artists in their studios. She was an inspiration for them starting to collect Bay Area art. She had a remarkable eye." "Mary, a former trustee and generous donor to SFAI (San Francisco Art Institute formerly, California School of Fine Arts) was a member of the San Francisco art community for more than 50 years. As an art consultant and advisor she helped build many important collections of contemporary art, and was a special champion of Bay Area artists. She was a prominent member of the San Francisco Art Institute's Women's Board throughout the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. She was a neighbor and friend of the Art Institute and was involved in countless events and activities there. She generously contributed funds for scholarships as well as the renovation of the garden courtyard fountain and re-planting the Chestnut Street gardens." Mary also was affiliated with and supported CCAC, now CCA. Friend, Tecoah Bruce, trustee and former chair of the board of trustees at CCA (California College of the Arts) said, "She was a wonderful and gracious hostess, the Dean of good taste known for her manners and grace, and always generous in introducing new leaders in the art world to the local and national scene." Mary, herself was a work of art, in her presence, appreciation, understanding and choice of art, fashion and home and garden environment. She will be greatly missed by her family, many friends and colleagues. She set a high bar of accomplishment, appreciation and many generous donations of artistic value. Mary is survived by her son, Francis V. Keesling III (Frank) and his wife, Arlene of Sonoma. Services will be private. Donations may be made to SFMOMA, San Francisco Art Institute or a charity of your choice.
A brief biographical sketch precedes a selection of drawings and paintings that illustrate Guston's evolution as an artist, including murals, abstracts, and more recent work
About the book:
Publisher: Brand: George Braziller, 1980
Paperback; 151 pages with color and bw illustrations
Published by George Braziller in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art