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January 20, 1997

UCSC exhibits work of celebrated California artist

By Barbara McKenna

Charles Griffin Farr, one of California's great realist painters, was honored at a reception held recently at UCSC, to which he has donated a dozen of his paintings and drawings.

Some 100 people attended the January 11 reception for the artist, a longtime resident of San Francisco. The reception was held at University House, the residence of Chancellor Greenwood, where Farr's donated works will be on display indefinitely.

Farr, 88, was recently described by a reporter as "the grand old man of the San Francisco art scene." He is considered a master of the American Realist tradition. Born in 1908 in Birmingham, Alabama, Farr has been painting for more than 70 years. In his youth, he studied in New York City and at the Academie Americaine in Paris. Farr began his move westward after serving in the army in World War II, arriving in San Francisco in 1948.

Farr learned of UCSC in 1990 when Rolando Castellon, the curator of UCSC's Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at the time, invited Farr to exhibit his work at the gallery. Farr, who taught for nearly a decade at the San Francisco Art Institute, was impressed by the campus's art program and decided to make a gift of a number of his works to the Sesnon Art Gallery's permanent collection. The gift follows his conviction to make his work accessible to all where it can be used to teach art students.

"It is a delight to both live with and share with others the work of one of America's great contemporary painters," noted Chancellor Greenwood. "Additionally, Mr. Farr's gift will be an exceptional resource for future generations of artists at UCSC." Following the Farr exhibition, Chancellor Greenwood will exhibit other works of special interest to the campus and community that will be on display for visitors to the University House.

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