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John Saccaro Works Biography


John Saccaro (1913-1981) was born in San Francisco, and was a camoufleur in France in the Army during WWII.

He began his artistic career working for the Federal Arts Project in the Murals Section at Treasure Island in the 1930s.  In 1939, at the age of 25, he was given a solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in 1954, he graduated from the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute).  Saccaro later went on to teach at UCLA from 1963 to 1964.

Around 1955, Saccaro began to paint in the manner for which he is best known, using a slashing, angular brush work that bears resemblance to the gestural canvases of Kline.  He called these paintings “sensory raids,” defining sensorism as “the scrape, slash, and violence of the sensory.”

Saccaro’s bright palette contrasted to the earth tones and monochromes more common among San Francisco artists at the time.  He was a major contributor to the San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism, and his works appear in the book of the same name by Susan Landauer (published by UC Press in 1996).  Saccaro’s work has been featured in several West Coast exhibitions, including shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art, de Young Museum, and Oakland Museum.


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