Andrew DeShong (1941 - 2014)
California / Norwegian

Andrew (Drew) DeShong was a painter, set designer, scholar, writer, and popular bookstore owner. DeShong was born in 1941, and was raised in a suburb of El Paso, Texas. He was active in artistic and theater circles in Texas, New England, and California. He attended Harvard University and Yale University, where he completed a doctorate on Theater History. DeShong began designing theater sets and costumes while still at Harvard, and exhibited his paintings in New York galleries during this period. He spent time studying in Paris before completing his PhD in 1970, and later taught college courses in theater history, set design, and literature. As a scholar, he was the author of The Theatrical Designs of George Grosz (1982), which became a seminal publication on the German artist, and co-organized an exhibition exploring twentieth-century stage design at the Henie Onstad Foundation in Oslo.

In the mid 1970s, after moving to the Bay Area, DeShong served as an art critic for Art Week, a local art magazine that was distinguished by longtime contributors such as artist and educator Fred Martin. A major contributor to the San Francisco theater scene, DeShong owned Drama Books for more than two decades, which became a cultural hub in the city.

A prolific artist, he painted throughout his theater and academic careers, drawing inspiration for his expressionist figurative compositions from dramatic interpretations. His early paintings demonstrate the beginnings of an emphasis on brushwork and muted color, which continued throughout his oeuvre. DeShong died in Berkeley, California in 2014, and was working on a major book art project before his pa