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 Tony De Lap  (1927 - )

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: sculptor-geometric design

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Ad Code: 3
Tony De Lap
from Auction House Records.
Spirit Phenomena
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Tony DeLap was born in 1927. Having spent most of his life near water, DeLap, the son of a lawyer, grew up near the border between Richmond and El Cerrito, California. Gazing across the Bay, he was able to see the building of the Golden Gate Bridge from his house. He studied at several Bay Area colleges, including the San Francisco Academy of Art and the Claremont Colleges in Southern California. Courses would include illustration, graphic design, and art.

During the 1950s and 1960s, DeLap was employed by trade show exhibitions and did freelance graphic design while applying his talents at painting and sculptures. From an early age, he associated himself with an emerging movement of West Coast 'minimalists' known as "finish fetish", to include Larry Bell, DeWaine Valentine, and Craig Kauffman. He experimented in the early 1970s with painting and sculpture in order to create the stylistic hybrid that distinguishes his art: wall-mounted, low relief, mixed-media constructions. During the 1980s and 1990s, he gravitated to the exploration of the edges of his works, edges that seem to shift in space. Changes in the form, shape, and color of a piece become ever apparent as a viewer wanders about the work.

He was a professor of art at the San Francisco Art Institute, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and later worked at the University of California at Davis. He later moved to Orange County, California where he taught art at the University of California at Irvine. In 1991, he retired from UC Irvine. His initial working studios were located near construction and craft shops, enabling him to learn various crafts from local trades-people.

In Southern California, De Lap maintains a studio in Corona del Mar, from where his reputation reaches around the world. He has completed many major public art projects in California, Wisconsin, and in Japan. His works are deceptively simple in form and color, and seem to be void of emotions. He is known for his commanding use of illusionist techniques (see magic interest below) and detailed craftsmanship, evident in his sculptures clean lines. He has a keen ability to challenge the viewer's perception of reality.

DeLap has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as international locations. Recently, in 2001, he was honored with a major retrospective exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California.

His works can be found in many public and private collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Tate Gallery (London), and many others. His awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation.

His interests include magic, fishing, and cooking. A 1999 photograph depicts five Tonys sitting at a table at the Sixth Los Angeles Conference on Magic history. His interest in magic, as inferred above, would carry over into his artwork.


(Information on the biography above is from a combination of sources including Charlotte Jackson (, the San Jose Museum of Art, and The Joy of Artful Writing (EC Goldner))

Biography from Peter Blake Gallery:
Born Oakland, CA, 1927.

Menlo Jr. College, Claremont Graduate School.
Lives & works in Corona del Mar, CA

UC Davis,1964-65. Professor, Studio Art
UC Irvine, 1965-1991. Member of Founding Faculty.

2001 San JoseMuseum of Art, Tony DeLap(retrspective), San Jose, CA
Mark Moore Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2000 Orange Co. Museum of Art, Tony DeLap (retrospective) Newport Beach, CA.
1986,89,92,96 Modernism, San Francisco
1994 California State University, Fullerton, CA
1980 Pierce College, Woodland Hills, CA>1979 California State University, Chico, CA
1977 Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA
1976 California State College, Bakersfield, CA
Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
1974 California State University, Long Beach, CA
1975 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1970 Albright-Knox Museum,Award Exhibition for Carborundum Co., Buffalo, NY
1968 University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA
1964 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco,CA (Nealie Sullivan Award Exhibition)
1960 Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1954 Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA

Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY.
Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, NY.
The Tate Gallery, London, England.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Wash. DC
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA
Fujinomiya City,Japan
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SF,CA
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Santa Barbara Museum of Art,Santa Barbara, CA
Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, CA
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
Storm King Art Center,Mountainville, NY
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA

National Endowment for the Arts, l983, $25,000 Fellowship Grant, Highest Award for Painting
Centinela Gateway Competition for Santa Monica Arts Commission Sculpture Project, Awarded Commission
1st Prize, Los Angeles Department of Airports, Statewide Sculpture Competition,Los Angeles, CA
University of California Regents' Creative Arts Fellowship, (study of Haida Indian totems) 1974
A.F.A. Ford Foundation Grant, Museum-in-Residence Program, Haverford, PA
Nealie Sullivan Award,San Francisco Art Institute, SanFrancisco,CA 1964

Catalog, "Tony DeLap". Orange County Museum of Art, 2000
Iannaccone,Carmine, "Tony DeLap at Orange County Museum of Art" Art Issues, January/February 2001
Reed, Michal, "Tony DeLap, Mark Moore Gallery" Art+Text /56, 1997 p. 85. Illus.
Pagel David, "Tony DeLap at Mark Moore, 6 Sept -12 Oct." Art Issues, January/February 1997. p. 39. Illus.
Catalog, "Made in LA. The Prints of Cirrus Editions" LA County Museum of Art, LA, CA October 1995,Illus.
Catalog, "Tony DeLap The House of the Magician: An Installation of Reconstructed Works from 1967-1979 Essays by Mike Magee, Peter Clother and David Pagel. California State University at Fullerton, CA Feb. l994. Illus.
Clearwater, Bonnie, "West Coast Duchamp," Grassfield Press, Miami Beach, 1991, App. B.p.115, "Duchamp Festival, UCIrvine 1971, Illus:"Tony
DeLap's "A Spatial Occurrence,Levitation of a Human Being" 1971, text p.115-117
Catalog, "Finish Fetish: LA's Cool School," The University of Southern California, 1991, Illus.
Catalog, Peter Frank in "Tony DeLap/Paintings, Drawings, Prints."Modernism.SF,CA. February 1989, Illus.
Catalog. "Tony DeLap and The Floating Lady. The Artist/Magician as Magician/Artist." VARI studios, Arizona State Universty, Tempe, AZ, 1988. Illus.
Catalog, "Art for the Public. New Collaborations.". Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio. March, 1988. Illus.
Knight, Christopher. "L.A.'s Art Direction. Five Painters Help Shape the City's New Cultural Image." GQ Magazine, Aug. l983, p.136, Illus.
Frank, Peter, "In One Medium, Out the Other,"Village Voice, New York, April 9, 1979
Knight,Christopher,"A Show that Pushes Art to the Wall."LA Herald-Examiner,Sec. B,p.1,Feb.118,1981
Perlmutter, Elizabeth,"A Hotbed of Advanced Art,"Art News,May 1979, P.84, Illlus.
Roth,Moira,"Toward a History of Cal. Performance:Part 2,"Arts Magazine,June 1978,P.114,Illus.>Catalog,The 35th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Painting & Sculpture, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Feb. 1977, Illus.
High Performance. "Sept.17, 1977. Florine, Child of the Air --Tony DeLap", Feb. 1978, Vol. 1, No.1, p.30, Illus.
Catalog, "Watercolors and Related Media by Contemporary Californians,"Cal.Inst. Technolory, Oct.1977, Illus.
Catalog, "DeLap.The Edge as Form and Metaphor," Gene Cooper, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA. Sept. 1977. Illus.
Masheck, Joseph. "Tony DeLap's Shapely Paintings," Arts Magaz ine, April 1976, Illus.
Catalog, "Tony DeLap", California State University, Long Beach, CA. 1974. Illu. Essay,Gene Cooper.
Catalog, "Photographs by S.Cal. Painters& Sculptors,"Coll.of Creative Studies Gallery, UCSB,June,1997,Illus.
Rose,Barbara, "Current Events" NY Magazine, p.71, Feb.1973
Schjeldahl,Peter, The New York Times, Jan .15, 1970, p.27D
Catalog,"Tony DeLap, The Last Five Years: 1963-1968, Alan Soloman, curator, UCIrvine, CA 1969 Illus.
Catalog, "Pittsburgh International," Carnegie Institute, Oct. 1967. p.252
Catalog," American Sculpture of the Sixties.LA County Museum of Art, Apr. 1967. Illus.
Coplans, John. Circle of Styles," Art in America. June, 1964. Illus.

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