Warren Newcombe
1894-1960

Theme/Style – Modernism, California Regionalism, figurative art, landscapes

Media – Oils, lithographs

Artistic Focus – In creating his landscapes, Warren Newcombe drew upon his early studio training in Boston, as well as the influence of Matisse and Dufy. It was the influence of the Modernists that moved Warren Newcombe from his early, formal style, to his better-known, more individual and anti-academic manner – a style in which flat planes of color and broad, heavy outlines turn ordinary scenes into sinuous, semi-abstracted dreamscapes. Newcombe’s work, whatever the subject matter, demonstrates a careful merging of emotion and intellect as it expresses the American scene. Its color vibrates and explodes; its treatment of subjects is uninhibited, brave, strong and at the same time delicate, clear, forceful, and well-conceived.

Career Highlights –

• In his early years, Warren Newcombe worked in the film industry, first in the East for both the Selznick Company and D.W. Griffith.
• Newcombe moved to Los Angeles, where he headed MGM’s special effects department in 1925.
• Newcombe soon became an integral member of the Los Angeles art scene. Indeed, in 1932 the famous impresario, Merle Armitage, designed a monograph devoted exclusively to the artist.
• His move west was also rewarded in 1944 with an Oscar for his work on the film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.
• In Newcombe’s painting “The University,” we see a young UCLA campus set against the still-unpopulated hills of Westwood; “Venice Oil Wells” places a forest of wooden oil rigs behind one of the bridges spanning a local canal; “Topanga Canyon Post Office” is set in a still-rural mountain glen. In short, to view Warren Newcombe's landscapes of Southern California is to relive the region's history.

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