Art. Culture. Life.

La Quinta Arts Foundation presents ‘Andy Nelson: A Legacy Revealed’

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LA QUINTA, CA – November 30, 2015

La Quinta Arts Foundation presents ‘Andy Nelson: A Legacy Revealed’

La Quinta City Hall hosts exhibition (Dec. 14, 2015 ­– March 11, 2016) of paintings the artist created while working and living in the desert.

Conversation with artist’s daughter, Marla Nelson, set for Jan. 27, 2016.

Straddling the line between fine and commercial art, Andy Nelson (1920-1996) produced a prodigious body of figurative and abstract paintings while also art directing advertising campaigns for clients including Ford Motor Co., RCA, Eastman Kodak, and others.

Andy Nelson: A Legacy Revealed, an exhibition running from Dec. 14, 2015 through March 11, 2016 at La Quinta City Hall, focuses on Nelson’s paintings, which he created largely while working in Palm Springs in the 1960s and living in La Quinta starting in the 1970s.

Presented by La Quinta Arts Foundation, the exhibition programming includes a conversation between the artist’s daughter, Marla Nelson, and Steven Biller, editor-at-large of Palm Springs Life and a contributing writer to art ltd. magazine. The program, “Through a Daughter’s Eyes,” is set for January 27, 2016, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Civic Center, located at 78495 Calle Tampico in La Quinta.

Nelson — whose work is in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., as well as in 150 private collections — started painting at the age of 9, after moving from Staten Island, N.Y., to the vast Arizona desert. From this early age, he was fascinated by the desert and influenced by Native American culture; they became his earliest subjects, and re-emerged in many of his late works.

He attended Cooper Union School of Art in New York, but left after three years to become head art director of a New York advertising agency. World War II interrupted his fledgling career. After serving in all the major battles and being honorably discharged in 1946 with five bronze battle stars, he returned to his career and continued painting.

Nelson’s early paintings mostly depicted his family and friends, as well as the Eastern woodlands and seashore. In the 1960s, his work became more abstract, and it wasn’t until the early 1980s — after leaving his position as senior vice president and creative director at J. Walter Thompson Co. — that he turned back to representational painting.

At J. Walter Thompson Co., he worked with Lee Iacocca on the Ford Mustang campaign in Palm Springs, where he eventually befriended and worked closely with interior designer Arthur Elrod, who placed Nelson’s paintings in the houses of Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and others.

Locally, Nelson exhibited at Arthur Elrod Gallery in Palm Springs in 1981, The Gallery at the La Quinta Hotel in 1990, and the La Quinta Arts Foundation in 1990 and 1993.

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About La Quinta Arts Foundation:

La Quinta Arts Foundation (LQAF) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1982 whose mission is “Promoting and Cultivating the Arts.” LQAF produces La Quinta Arts Festival, the #1 ranked Fine Art Festival in the Nation 2013, 2014, and 2015. LQAF’s Visual Arts Scholarship awards currently total $1,190,000. More information at or 760-564-1244.

La Quinta Community Gallery Sponsors: Rabobank and the City of La Quinta