Ocean Park Series #8

John Altoon (American, 1925-1969)
Oil on canvas 
81-1/2 x 84 in. (207 x 213.4 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift 
Accession Number:
© 2022 The Estate of John Altoon and Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles 
On View

John Altoon came to prominence through his association with the Ferus Gallery of Los Angeles in the late 1950s. In 1961, Altoon moved into a studio in Venice, California and soon after began working on the Ocean Park series, named after a local neighborhood. This group of 18 paintings, and several works on paper, was a departure from Altoon’s usual all-over style of painting, because he eliminated much of the background by leaving most of the canvas surface empty and began on a neutral field.

Ocean Park Series #8, although abstract and seemingly spontaneous, is actually a unique view of the California coast. Although painting on a two dimensional canvas, Altoon depicts a landscape’s depth in the way that the fore-, middle- and backgrounds are all included in the composition. Broad, gestural strokes reveal the yellow and orange rays of the sun streaming down over blue and white cresting ocean waves that crash onto the brown landscape on which green vegetation grows.


Anonymous, gift 1964 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1964-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 1975.

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