|Fred McDuff was born in Birmingham,
Alabama in 1931. While stationed in Germany with the Army, he visited some
of Europe's great museums - which made a lasting impression on him. Upon his
return to the U.S. he witnessed the phenomenal educational results of "FDR's
G.I. Bill." Soon he enrolled to study painting at the Art Students
League (NY). However, after several weeks he realized that all the riches of
New York's museums - like those in Europe - were open to him. He decided to
leave the Art Students League to spend his days in the museums studying,
"taking apart the painting", to learn the secrets of such masters as
Tiepolo, Chardin, Fantin-Latour, Corot and Pissarro. To the analytical
study, he added the discipline of painting every day. |
One of McDuff's favorite subjects was Brittany, to which he frequently returned. "Remembered reality is an endless source of inspiration", he said. His representational paintings take the viewer to a world devoid of harshness, a serene place of gracious living. His unconfined brushwork and ample open light give his paintings a strong impressionist feeling. He has studied the composition of the paints used by the French Impressionists and learned to alter modern commercially available oil paints to approximate materials used by the 19th-century artists.
In the early 1960s, McDuff left New York, the home turf of Abstract Expressionism, for Washington DC. DC had its own group of outstanding active artists (Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis, Jules Olitski), providing New York-style vitality to the local art scene. This vitality of the environment and his own natural proclivity moved McDuff to study and methodize the works of the abstract painters of his time (Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko). After a period of quiet experimentation he began producing and showing his color field-abstracts in the early 1970s.
(As part of the "Art in Embassies" program, the US State Department purchased works of McDuff for American Embassies as well as the State Department in Washington, DC. Corporate collectors include Occidental Petroleum and TRW Systems. Outside the U.S., he has collectors in England, France, Italy and Japan.)