Dennis Ray Beall Biography

Dennis Ray Beall

American

1929-

Biography

Dennis Ray Beall, printmaker, educator, curator, and administrator, was born to Lois and Roy Beall on 13 March 1929 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. The family remained in Chickasha and Dennis graduated from Chickasha High School in 1947. Upon graduation, Beall joined the U.S. Navy which sent him to train at Electronics Materiel School on Treasure Island off San Francisco. After his training he spent eighteen months in Japan.

After his discharge in 1950, Beall enrolled in the Oklahoma City University and, in 1952, he traveled throughout Europe. He hired onto the crew of an oil tanker in Naples which sailed to ports in the Persian Gulf, France and Italy. With the money he had earned, Beall was able to relocate to California in 1953, where he enrolled at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University). Punctuating his studies with trips to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1958.

During his course of study at San Francisco State College, Beall produced a body of abstract expressionist color lithographs, which were created from single stones and transparent color washes. In 1957, first solo exhibition at the East/West Gallery in San Francisco featured these lithographs. However, in 1958, Beall turned to intaglio printmaking with the assistance of John Ihle.


Beall was registrar at the Oakland Museum of California briefly in 1958 before becoming a curator at the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts in San Francisco. He held that position until 1965 when he began his teaching career at San Francisco State University where he taught printmaking. Beall was assistant professor of art between 1965 and 1969, associate professor between 1969 and 1976, and professor of art from 1976 until 1992. He was named Professor Emeritus in 1992. Beall is a member of the California Society of Printmakers and served as president in 1970.

Dennis Beall’s work has been featured in over twenty-five solo exhibitions and has been awarded an equal number of honors. Shown in over 200 exhibitions internationally, Beall’s work is held in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Fresno Art Museum, California; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Oakland Museum of California; the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts.