Lockwood, Ward

Ward Lockwood

 (Am. 1894-1963)

BJohn Ward Lockwood was a key figure in American painting in the first half of this century; he exhibited widely and he was an influential teacher and writer. Today his work is in most major museums. Lockwood studied at the Pennsylvania Academy and in Paris, followed by a year painting in the south of France with Kenneth Adams, a fellow Kansan. In 1926, Lockwood and his wife moved to Taos where Adams had already joined the Taos Society of Artists. Lockwood’s work, at first characteristic of the regionalist painting of early Taos, soon began to show the influence of his modernist-mentors and fly-fishing companion, artists John Marin and Andrew Dasburg, and of Cubism. Lockwood had begun a steady progress toward the Modernist style that characterized his mature work. Along with Bert Phillips and Victor Higgins, he painted the Taos County Courthouse murals. Although he maintained a home and studio near Taos for the rest of his life, Lockwood traveled widely. In 1932 he took a position at the Broadmoor Academy in Colorado Springs, taught painting and lithography, and worked on WPA. public murals with Dasburg. In the 1940s he taught at the University of Texas, where he founded the painting department. During the 1950s he was on the painting faculty at Berkeley and exhibited with the abstract expressionist painters of the then-controversial San Francisco Art Association. The critic Alfred Frankenstein praised Lockwood as “a magnificent composer and painterly craftsman. The subtleties of his surface are fully equated with the strength of his forms, and the total effect of his work is therefore one of completely ripened statement”. A text accompanying a San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibition explains the artist’s evolution: “Lockwood explored a variety of modern styles, including expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and constructivism, without fully embracing any of them as a signature style. He deftly moved from the figurative to the abstract, the gestural to the geometric, and the linear to the chromatic.” During his life his work was shown in more than forty individual exhibitions. After Ward Lockwood’s death, the University of Texas Art Museum organized a retrospective exhibition that toured five American museums. In 1968, Charles Eldredge wrote a biography, published by the University of Kansas, which has extensive holdings of Lockwood work.