Jay DeFeo

Exploring Unorthodox Materials

Jay DeFeo American Abstract Expressionist

Jay DeFeo was born in 1929 in Hanover, New Hampshire, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and a master’s in 1951, both in studio art, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Upon graduation, she was awarded a fellowship and traveled to Europe and North Africa for a year and a half, settling in Florence for six months. There, DeFeo worked intensively on what became her first significant body of work, influenced by Abstract Expressionism, the geometry of Italian architecture, and her ongoing fascination with Asian, African, and prehistoric art.

Returning to Northern California in 1953, DeFeo became a pivotal figure in the historic San Francisco community of artists, poets, and jazz musicians at the time. The art she began making in the mid-1950s incorporated the dualities of representation and abstraction, organic rhythms and geometric form, refinement and expressionism. DeFeo worked with unorthodox materials to explore the broadest definitions of sculpture, drawing, collage, and painting.

Visit site