Paul Beattie Biography

Paul Beattie



Painter and multidisciplinary artist Paul Beattie was born on December 22, 1924, in Bay City, Michigan. Beattie taught himself how to draw as a teenager and did not receive formal art training until after his stint in the Navy Reserves during World War II, when he was able to enroll in courses at the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts from 1945 to 1947. There, he found inspiration in the works of German Expressionists, Fauvists, and Impressionists. It wasn't until he relocated to New York after graduation that he was exposed to Abstract Expressionism and the radically experimental styles of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. He painted from his studio in Greenwich Village and exhibited throughout the city from 1947 to 1954, including at venerated venues such as Jacques Seligmann Galleries, the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and RoKo Gallery, as well as in the Thirteen Under Forty-Six: An Exhibition of Paintings show with several leading Abstract artists. He was also given a solo show at the Hansa Gallery in 1954. Though he found success in the New York art scene, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of 1954.

Beattie settled with his family in San Francisco and was soon eveloped in the Beat scene, where he was introduced to new forms of artistic expression including film, writing, photography, and light shows. He worked with artists such as Jay DeFeo, George Herms, and ruth weiss throughout the Bay Area, and established a reputation in the experimental film world in particular, with screenings in Los Angeles, New York, and in Europe. As well, he continued to exhibit his two dimnesional works at leading Beat art galleries such as the Batman Gallery, the "6" Gallery, and the East West.

In 1963 the Beattie family once again relocated, now settling permanently an hour north of San Francisco in the Sonoma County countryside. He refocused on painting, drawing, and collage, and continued to exhibit while also earning his Masters in Studio Arts at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an exhibitor at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art's Collage and Assemblage in Southern California (1975), and was in several shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, including a major retrospective in 1980.

Beattie continued to create until his death in 1988. In addition to his art career, Beattie, along with his wife Dee Dunstan, studied partical physics and astronomy and raised their five children on a self-sustaining farm. Following his death, a retrospective of Beattie's work was held at the California Museum of Art at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County. His work his held in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, the San Jose Museum of Art, the SOMAR Gallery in San Francisco, and the Doyle Collection at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he taught from 1974 to 1980.