Nathan Oliveira

Nathan Oliveira (born December 19 1928) is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor, born in Oakland, California. Since the late 1950s he is the veteran of nearly one hundred solo exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions, in important museums and galleries worldwide, including several Whitney Museum of American Art Annual Exhibitions. Beginning in the late 1950s and the early 1960s, to the present he has consistently exhibited his evolving work. He has taught painting for several decades in California since the early 1950s when he taught in Oakland and then at Stanford University. He's considered to be one of the pioneers of the return to the figure in American painting that originated in the California Bay area in the 1950s. Along with various colleagues, Oliviera responded to Abstract expressionism in the mid-1950s by returning to imagery.


Oliveira attended college in Oakland; first at Mills College, where he attended a class taught by Max Beckmann, and later at California College of the Arts, where he received a BFA in 1951 and an MFA in 1952. He has taught art at several colleges, including the California College of the Arts and Stanford University.

  • 1952-53 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA
  • 1955-56 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA
  • 1964-96 Professor of Studio Arts, Stanford University, CA


  • 2000 Distinguished Degree of "Commander" in "The Order of the Infante D. Henrique" awarded by the President of Portugal and the Portuguese government.
  • 1997 University California Press, Berkeley to publish a major monograph on the life and work of Nathan Oliveira. Susan Landauer, Author. Work to begin in 1998.
  • 1996 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
  • California Society of Printmakers Honors Nathan Oliveira for Distinguished Artistic Achievement
  • 1994 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge
  • Elected Academy Membership (Fellow), American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
  • 1992 Ann O'Day Maples Professor in the Arts Emeritus, Stanford University, CA
  • 1988 Ann O'Day Maples Professor in the Arts, Endowed Chair, Stanford University, CA
  • 1985 Academician, Graphic Arts, National Academy of Design, New York, NY
  • 1984 Academy Institute Award in Art, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
  • 1982 Elected Associate Member, National Academy of Design, New York, NY
  • 1974 National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Grant
  • 1968 Doctor of Fine Arts Degree, Honoris Causa, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA
  • 1964 Tamarind Lithography Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1963 Arte Actual de America y Espana Special Prize, Madrid, Spain Tamarind Lithography Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1959 Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • 1958 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
  • 1957 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant

Artistic association

He was a member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement: a group of San Francisco Bay Area artists in the 1950s and 1960s who sought a return to figurative painting as a reaction to non-objective abstract painting. Other Bay Area Figurative School artists include Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Elmer Bischoff, and later, Joan Brown, and Manuel Neri. Oliveira is also known as an outstanding printmaker who has executed many unique works in the monotype medium. He has exhibited his paintings in museums and galleries throughout the world.

Recent Work

Oliveira has most recently been at work on a series of paintings inspired the by Gerard Manley Hopkins poem "The Windhover," which he hopes will be permanently housed at a contemplative center planned for Stanford University.

External links

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