Byron Randall Art Estate Sale*
This huge estate sale of 35 oil paintings, 140 block prints,and 300+ watercolors, pastels, ink/graphite drawings is a rare opportunity to enjoy a little-known, West Coast artistic gem. The event has interest for people with limited budgets, in offering over 100 small-scale, signed works in lino, ink and watercolor (nudes, flowers, fruit, landscapes, animals, portraits, street scenes), within the $30-$75 range. There is a 10% discount for purchases of more than one item.The striking range of style and subject ensures that there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Highlights include:
- Rare South Pacific series of Pacific Islanders, crewmates, landscapes, cityscapes
- Abundant, varied still lifes: vigorous, delicate, in oil, watercolor, ink, pastel
- Never-exhibited Mexican drawings, watercolors and pastels: market scenes, domestic life, church processions, landscapes
- Never-seen erotic ink drawings as well as a major series of nude blockprints
- Block prints of political critique: satire, allegories of war and peace
- Major pastel series of Hawaii: people, landscapes and still lifes
- Surreal late life works: huge oils, small lino prints, inspired by black holes, Mickey Mouse, dolls, and the threat of nuclear annihilation
Prices range from $30 to $4,500. The majority of pieces fall between $30–$750. For more examples of Randall’s work, see
Byron Randall (1919-1999) was a prolific West Coast artist. He produced over 2000 original works in oil, watercolor, ink, pastel, and wood/lino engravings across his 60-year career. A contemporary of artists Pablo O’Higgins, Anton Refregier, Robert ‘Mac’ McChesney and Emmy Lou Packard, Randall shared their left wing beliefs while differing in his use of color, texture and line. His work is held in permanent collections of the Phillips Collection, the California Palace of the Legion of Honour, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Schneider Museum of Art, the Bolinas Art Museum, the Janet Turner Print Collection and Gallery, and the Oakland Museum of California.
Born in Tacoma, Randall was raised in Salem, Oregon, where he trained and subsequently taught at the Salem Art Center, part of the WPA Federal Art Project. At 20, a solo show at the Whyte Gallery in Washington D.C. launched his career. In 1940 he moved to Mexico; the country was to play a major role throughout his life. A Merchant Marine in World War Two, Randall was stationed in the South Pacific. His watercolors of ship life, Fiji, Tonga, New Guinea, Australia—many painted on wrapping paper—are a rare chronicle of the era. Shortly after the war, Randall travelled to devastated Yugoslavia and Poland, producing etchings of Jewish survivors and the rebuilding of Polish Ghettos. Randall co-founded San Francisco’s Graphic Arts Workshop, affiliated to Mexico’s Taller Grafica Popular and to the San Francisco Labor School; this produced an illustrated Communist Manifesto in 1948.
In 1953 Randall moved to Canada to escape McCarthyism, where he produced large-scale mixed media and caseins. In 1956 he returned to California, marrying the print-maker and muralist Emmy Lou Packard. Between 1959 and 1969 Randall and Packard ran a Guest House and Art Gallery in Mendocino, California. During this highly productive period, Randall created three major series of oils, ‘Doomsday’ (on nuclear war), the Abraham Lincoln series and the Philo Barn series (exploring country life and labor). Strongly interested in sea life, Randall created a found-art collage series about shipwrecks, at this time, as well as two large wood cut series of nudes and still lifes. His multi-media allegorical ‘American Beauty Queen series’, highlights the nexus of militarism, spectacle, and the US beauty industry; his horror and fascination with mass entertainment and empire led in later years to surreal oil and print series ‘Mickey Skull’, ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’, ‘Gladiators’. In 1972, Randall established a guesthouse/art gallery in Tomales, California, where he continued to work prolifically, in all media and many genres, until his death age 80.
Randall was an expressionist whose art was strongly responsive to physical environment. Of his paintings he wrote: “the look of them might have been different if I’d grown up anywhere but in Oregon. Brilliant sunlight nursing the green valleys after a long rainy winter . . . there’s a powerful bit of environment that would show in a man’s work all his life. I’ve seen that creative communication has a vitality all its own. It’s not a refuge from life, but an intensification. It’s the practice of humanity. In painting I think the approach that best affirms life is expressionism, and that’s why I became and am now an expressionist.” His aesthetic influences include Kokoschka, Rouault, and the artists of Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular (of which Randall was an Associate Member).
Randall saw the human condition as a dynamic struggle for justice or at times simply the struggle for survival, captured in his scenes of boxers and wrestlers. Randall’s art also revels in the joyful, sensuous and whimsical aspects of everyday life. It celebrates both male and female nudity, and the hedonistic satisfactions of leisure: surfing, drinking, dancing, lounging, making music. A professional cook (and boxer), Randall loved to depict food. From early on, Randall’s love of tools—from potato mashers, lanterns, pitchers, candles, to saws and plows–showed in his work. Still lifes—mixing flowers, fruit, utensils, toys and nude humans—were a continuous feature of his output across all media. Randall created unsentimental yet tender portraits of friends, lovers and working people—cooks, housekeepers, hewers of coal and wood, housepainters, gravediggers, laundry women, stevedores, sellers of bread and chickens. The landscapes of Oregon, California, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Scotland prompted vivid watercolors and pastels.