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Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979
Pacific Fine Art

Manuel Neri Original Vintage Modern Post Painterly Abstract California Fine Art Gouache on Cardboard Painting Dedicated Wayne Thiebaud Birthday 1979

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Rare, original vintage modern abstract tempera painting on cardboard, by Manuel Neri (1930-2021). The painting is a painterly abstract with a blue balloon-looking figure prominent in the center. On the reverse of the painting is the artist's signature, and a notation to the left stating "Thiebaud's Surprise" with a drawing of a boat and a hook with a fish below. A beautiful painting with a sweet history of two artists and fishing buddies, and a celebration of Wayne Thiebaud's birthday in 1979. The painting alone measures approximately 9" X 9"; with the frame, the painting measures approximately 16.4" X 16.4". The painting is in good original condition. It should be noted that the frame no longer has glass, and the glass/plexiglass will need to be replaced.

Manuel John Neri Jr. (April 12, 1930 – October 18, 2021) was a distinguished American sculptor known for his life-size figurative plaster, bronze, and marble sculptures. His works often convey emotional depth through expressive body language and gestures. Since 1965, Neri maintained a studio in Benicia, California; in 1981, he acquired another studio in Carrara, Italy, to work with marble. Over four decades, starting in the early 1970s, Neri collaborated primarily with model Mary Julia Klimenko, creating pieces that merge contemporary themes with Modernist sculptural forms.  

Biography

Born in Sanger, California, on April 12, 1930, Manuel John Neri Jr. was the son of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico, who had fled the political unrest following the Mexican Revolution. He began his college education at San Francisco City College in 1950, initially pursuing electrical engineering. However, a ceramics class taught by Peter Voulkos inspired him to shift his focus to art. Neri subsequently studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where he learned under influential artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and Frank Lobdell. He began creating life-sized figurative sculptures in plaster and mixed media, often painting the surfaces to emphasize their forms and gestures.

In the late 1950s, Neri was involved with the artist-run Six Gallery in San Francisco, along with Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, and others. He played a key role in organizing the "6 Poets at 6 Gallery" event in October 1955, where Allen Ginsberg gave the first public reading of "Howl." In 1959, Neri joined Bruce Conner's Rat Bastard Protective Association. During the 1960s, he was associated with the Bay Area Figurative Movement. Neri married artist Joan Brown from 1962 to 1966, although their relationship and artistic collaboration had begun several years earlier.

Neri taught sculpture and ceramics at the California School of Fine Arts from 1959 to 1965 and held a teaching position at UC Berkeley from 1963–1964. From 1965 to 1990, he was a faculty member at the University of California, Davis.

Awards and Honors

Neri received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture in 2006 and the Bay Area Treasure Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2008. His accolades also include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1979), a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant (1980), an Academy-Institute Award in Art from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1982), and the San Francisco Arts Commission Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sculpture (1985). He was honored with Distinguished Artist Awards from the Orange County Museum of Art (1999) and received honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Art Institute (1990), California College of Arts and Crafts (1992), and The Corcoran School of Art (1995).

Selected Collections

Neri's sculptures are part of the collections of numerous prestigious institutions, including the Addison Gallery at Phillips Academy, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Des Moines Art Center, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Personal Life

Manuel Neri was married several times and was the second husband of painter Joan Brown from 1962 to 1966. He had seven children: Raoul, Laticia, Noel (his son with Joan Brown), Max, Ruby, Julia, and Gus. Neri passed away on October 18, 2021, in Sacramento, California, at the age of 91.

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