I see paintings in the places most people forget to look” — Val Lewton

“Val Lewton, who exercised his “contrary eye” as a realist painter in Washington, D.C. for more than half a century after arriving here from his native California in the early 1960s. During that time of triumphant abstraction in the nation’s capital, Lewton focussed on roads and cars and the dynamic patterns of then-young DC suburbs such as Dale City, Virginia. With both a studio and a job in downtown DC, he recorded the incessant, often violent changes wrought by giant cranes and wrecking balls in paintings of great power and poignancy. His later, masterful sequence of paintings of huge 18-wheel trucks–the rugged wheels of the industrial economy–further reveal Lewton’s unique artistic temperament and his subtly provocative take on American society in the late twentieth and early 21st-centuries. As a painter, Lewton thrived equally in the vital, fossil-fueled miasma of Breezewood, Pennsylvania and in the luminous late-afternoon light and shadows of Lewes, Delaware. He transformed everything he saw–including the ordinary one-gallon paint cans of his studio in Northwest D.C.–into hard-knuckled celebrations of the art of painting.”

Benjamin Forgey, 2017

Val Lewton:  From Hollywood to Breezewood


National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection, Washington DC

The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

The Fine Arts Program at the Federal Reserve Board, Washington DC

American University at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC

The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia,  Charlottsville, Virginia

University  of Maine Museum of Art, Orono, Maine

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine

Whitman College Sheehan Gallery, Walla Walla, Washington

George Washington University, Washington DC

Towson State College, Towson, Maryland

University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC

University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

DC Commission on Arts & Humanities, Washington, DC

The Wilson Building, Washington, DC

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Bates College for the Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine

Claremont Univesiity, Claremont, CA


American Telephone and Telegraph

Artery Corporation

Beverage Associates

National League of Cities

Washington Post Collection

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