New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, California, Modern Abstract, Landscape, Genre, Graphics Painting
Born in Atchison, Kansas, Ward Lockwood became a key painter in the Taos, New Mexico art colony. Modernist art styles including Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Constructivism reflected his wide ranging travels in Europe and the United States. From the 1920s to the 1960s, his work embraced a series of stylistic changes characteristic of people who influenced him, including John Marin and Andrew Dasburg.
He studied at the University of Kansas, and from 1914 to 1917 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he was introduced to Modernism. In 1917, he began a two-year enlistment in the Army and served in France, and in 1921, a return visit to France led to his being influenced by Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh.
During this time, he studied in Paris at the Academie Ranson, but got bored with the academic climate of that school and spent time at the Louvre and galleries along the Rue de la Boetie. He painted from local models and traveled around France with fellow Kansan, Kenneth Adams. He was much impressed with the diversity of contemporary art movements including Futurism, Cubism, and Dadaism. His work from this period shows influences of Geometric Abstraction and Impressionism.
In 1922, he returned to Kansas, committed to the idea that an artist does best painting in his own culture. He worked as a commercial artist and also did portrait commissions.
In 1926, he and his wife, artist Clyde Bonebrake, moved to Taos, New Mexico because of his friendship with Kenneth Adams, who was already established there. Lockwood became a part of the Taos Society of Artists, dedicated to a mutual effort of marketing their art work. Major influences there for a loosening of style were modernists Andrew Dasburg and John Marin. Watercolor became Lockwood’s preferred medium because he felt that it gave him more freedom of expression.
In the 1930s, he left Taos because of his need to make more money. He did numerous murals for the Federal Arts Project and accepted teaching positions at the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs and in 1938, became Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Texas in Austin.
Subsequently he taught at at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. In 1940, he moved to San Francisco and experimented with Abstraction and Assemblage but was again in the Army during World War II, advancing to the rank of colonel.
After that, he returned to California to teach and was much influenced by the modernist art environment there, exhibiting with the Abstract-Expressionist painters of the controversial San Francisco Art Association. He made frequent summer trips to Taos, where he settled during his final years.
In 1962, Lockwood retired from teaching and returned to Taos where he died the following year. By the time he died, four hundred paintings were in his estate collection.
Sources include: John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists; Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Artists; and Dean Porter, Taos Artists