Mostly known throughout the Bay Area for his self-portraits, artist David Lippenberger, who died on June 15 from a year-long battle with cancer, was a prominent member of The Alameda ArtWorks in San Jose. As one of the first artists to move into a studio at The Alameda ArtWorks’ The Alameda and Race Street location, Lippenberger considered the artists he met, who maintained studios at The Alameda ArtWorks, to be his family.
“He was very close to everyone there,” said fellow artist William Halleck. “David’s work spans sketches, figurative work, landscapes, mixed media, but he’s most well-known for his self-portraits … He seemed to always be there in the studio, and whenever I had questions I would get up and walk over to his studio, and he was always there. He was always giving us tips and ideas and he would always go through my art and pick out the ones that he thought were the best and we hung those in the hallways during open studios. He had a great eye.”
In the month since Lippenberger’s death, his fellow The Alameda ArtWorks artists have gone through his art and found, according to Halleck, “some amazing pieces – some stunning pieces that were speaking to us from the grave. They were self-portraits that were just ghostly, in a way – very amazing pieces of work … When David got cancer he had hair and all of his self-portraits were of himself bald and when he went through chemo and radiation he lost his hair and we all laughed and said he looked now just like all of his paintings, which was true, and it was really strange. It was a very kind of a spiritual awakening.”
Because of the significance of the pieces found within Lippenberger’s studio, his colleagues have put together a retrospective art show, which will include many of the self-portraits he created throughout career. The exhibit will be held at Santa Clara’s Studio Bongiorno, 500 Lincoln Street through Sept. 24. All of the artwork hung within the gallery will be for sale and 50 percent of the purchase price will go directly to cancer research – something Halleck and The Alameda ArtWorks artists are committed to doing.
“This will probably be the only time that this retrospective will be happening,” said Halleck, who noted that although some of Lippenberger’s pieces were sold at his celebration of life, there is still a large body of work available. “If anyone is interested, this is a great opportunity to see his work. People will be able to see him. They’ll have a chance to buy, to own and to see somebody who’s a really good well-known artist in the Bay Area, and also to meet his community. It will be a great personal thing. It’s like sharing a member of your family, which is kind of cool.”
For more information, visit www.studiobongiorno.com.