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Untitled (Two Women), c.1960, collage and ink on paper, 30 1/2” x 25”

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Manuel Neri (born April 12, 1930) is an American sculptor, painter, and printmaker and a notable member of the "second generation" of the Bay Area Figurative Movement.

Neri was born in Sanger, California, to immigrant parents who had fled Mexico during political unrest following the Mexican Revolution. He began attending college at San Francisco City College in 1950, initially studying to be an electrical engineer. After taking a class in ceramics, he was inspired to become an artist. He continued his education at California College of Arts and Crafts and at California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). Neri studied under Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, taking up abstract expressionism under their influence, but later turning toward figurative art along with them.

In the late 1950s, he was a member of the artist-run cooperative gallery, the Six Gallery, along with Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, and Jay DeFeo. In 1959, Neri became an original member of Bruce Conner's Rat Bastard Protective Association.

Neri taught sculpture and ceramics at California School of Fine Arts from 1959–1965 and was on the faculty of the University of California, Davis from 1965-1999.

In 2006, Neri was a recipient of the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

Although Neri's work includes many paintings, drawings, and prints, his primary medium is sculpture, typically using plaster, but sometimes marble or bronze. He is noted for his life-size sculptures, which though clearly figurative in nature, are abstracted figures rather than realist representations. His sculptures often emphasize surface texture, and the surfaces of his sculptures are often, sanded, chipped, or painted to emphasize textures. His approach to sculpture is often described as "painterly," and his approach to drawing and painting is correspondingly described as "sculptural".

The following are among the public art collections holding works by Manuel Neri: Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D. C.), the Denver Art Museum, the El Paso Museum of Art (El Paso, Texas), Grounds for Sculpture (Hamilton, New Jersey), the Honolulu Museum of Art, Laumier Sculpture Park and Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), the Neuberger Museum of Art (State University of New York, Purchase, New York), the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (Utah State University, Logan, Utah), the Oakland Museum of California (Oakland, California), the Palm Springs Desert Museum (Palm Springs, California), the San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, California), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, diRosa (Napa, California) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City). Portland Art Museum (Portland, Oregon).

BORN 1930 Sanger, CA


1956–58 California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA

1951–56 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA

1951–52 University of California, Berkeley, CA

1949–50 San Francisco City College, San Francisco, CA



2008    The Figure in Relief, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA

2007    Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY

            Riva Yares Gallery, Santa Fe, NM and, Scottsdale, AZ (also ‘05, ‘98, ‘95, ‘93, ‘89)

            Portland Art Museum, Portland, ME

            Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ‘05, ‘04, ‘03, ‘01)

2006    Manuel Neri, Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art, New York, NY

            Manuel Neri: Figure in Relief, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

2005    University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

            Manuel Neri, Palpable Tensions, Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA

            Artists’ Books/The Collaborative Process, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco,

            San Francisco, CA

2004    Collaboration and the Creative Process: Artists' Books by Manuel Neri and Mary Julia             

            Klimenko, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA

2002    Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY (also ‘00, ‘98, ‘97, ‘95, ‘93, ‘91, ‘89, ‘86, ‘82, ‘81)

            Japonais: Sculpture & Paintings on Paper, B. Sakata Garo, Sacramento, CA

            Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans, LA (also ‘99, ‘97, ‘95)

2000    Anne Reed Gallery, Ketchum, ID (also ‘97)

            Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ‘99, ‘97, ‘95, ‘93)

1999    Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV

1998    Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, CA

            Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA

97-98    Early Work, 1953–1978, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

            San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA

            Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA

1997    Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, CA

            San Marco Art Gallery, Dominican College, San Rafael, CA (also ‘90)

            Recent Marble Sculpture, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

            Galerie Claude Samuel, Paris, France

96–99    A Sculptor’s Drawings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC;

            Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO; Academy of Art College,

            San Francisco, CA; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, NE;

            The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY

1996    Lisa Kurts Gallery, Memphis, TN

1995    Manuel Neri: Classical Expressions, Nevada Institute for Contemporary Art, Las Vegas, NV

            Robischon Gallery, Denver, CO

1994    Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO (also ‘92)

            Master Artist Tribute III, Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary's College, Moraga, CA

            Margulies/Taplin Gallery, Boca Raton, FL (also ‘92, ‘90)

1993    Manuel Neri: Painted and Unpainted, Dia Center for the Arts, Bridgehampton, NY

            Drawings and Sculpture, University of Alabama Art Gallery, Tuscaloosa, AL

            Bingham Kurts Gallery, Memphis, TN (also ‘90)

1992    She Said: 'I Tell You It Doesn't Hurt Me', Fresno Art Center, Fresno, CA

            (also ‘92, ‘90, ‘88, ‘84, ‘81)

            John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ‘90, ‘88, ‘84, ‘81)

1991    Manuel Neri: Drawings, Part I, Richard L. Nelson Gallery, University of California, Davis, CA

            Eve Mannes Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1990    Manuel Neri: Bronzes, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA

1989    Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, NV

            Manuel Neri: Plaster, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

            Manuel Neri: Sculpture and Drawings, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA

1988    Manuel Neri, A Personal Selection, Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA

            James Corcoran Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

1987    Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA

            San Antonio Art Institute, San Antonio, TX

1985    Manuel Neri: Sculpture and Drawings, Robert Else Gallery, California State University,           

            Sacramento, CA

1984    Middendorf Gallery, Washington, DC

            California State University Art Gallery, Chico, CA

            Gimpel-Hanover & Andre Emmerich Galerien, Zurich, Switzerland

1983    Manuel Neri, Sculpture and Drawings, Middendorf/Lane Gallery, Washington, DC

1981    Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

            Manuel Neri: Sculpture/Drawings, The Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA

            Manuel Neri: Drawings and Bronzes, The Art Museum Association, (traveled through ‘83)

1980    Manuel Neri: Sculpture and Drawings, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

            Manuel Neri: Drawings, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA

            Grossmont College Gallery, El Cajon, CA

1979    Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA

1977    Manuel Neri: Recent Sculpture and Drawings, ArtSpace/Open Ring, E. B.

            Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA 

1976    Neri Sculpture, Braunstein/Quay Gallery, New York, NY

            The Remaking of Mary Julia: Sculpture in Progress, 80 Langton Street, San Francisco, CA

            Manuel Neri, Sculptor, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

1975    Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ‘71,‘68, ‘66)

1974    Art Gallery, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

            Manuel Neri: Sculpture and Installations, Davis Art Gallery, Stephens College, Columbia, MO

1972    Sacramento State College Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA

            Davis Art Center, Davis, CA

1971    University of Nevada Art Gallery, Reno, NV

1970    St. Mary's College, Moraga, CA

            San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

1969    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

1964    Berkeley Gallery, Berkeley, CA

1963    New Mission Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1960    Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1959    Spatsa Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1957    The Six Gallery, San Francisco, CA



2008    Bay Area Treasure Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2006    Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture, International

            Sculpture Center (ISC)

1995    Honorary Doctorate, Corcoran School of Art

1992    Honorary Doctorate, California College of Arts and Crafts

1990    Honorary Doctorate, San Francisco Art Institute

1985    Award of Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Sculpture, San Francisco Arts Commission

1982    Academy Institute Award in Art, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters

1980    Individual Artist Grant, National Endowment for the Arts

1979    Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

70–75  Sculpture Grant, University of California at Davis

1965    National Art Foundation Award

1963    82nd Annual Sculpture Award, San Francisco Art Institute

1959    Nealie Sullivan Award, California School of Fine Arts

1957    Purchase Award in Painting, Oakland Art Museum

1953    First Award in Sculpture, Oakland Art Museum






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