How did an honored and distinguished English artist come to exhibit in a small San Francisco gallery? David Carr's primary motivation was his marriage in 1991 to a San Franciscan. For almost two decades, until his death in 2009, he spent a portion of every year painting in California, even though London remained his primary home. He taught students from around the world in the summers in the Italian countryside near Florence.
His artistic pedigree is impeccable. Born and raised in North Yorkshire, Carr studied at the Slade School in London, considered by many to be England's finest art school, where he won a coveted scholarship to study at the renowned British School in Rome. While still a student he was accorded the additional honor of being invited to join the London Group, a society that has counted among its members Henry Moore, Lucien Freud and David Hockney. Beginning in 1966, he exhibited regularly at the prestigious Royal Academy summer exhibitions.
Whether painting the vista from Alamo Square in San Francisco or Sir Christopher Wren's churches in London, David Carr's paintings display a supreme mastery and a virtuosity that is always understated and never slick — a virtuosity that enables him to render the most subtle mutations of light and sky with a spontaneous brush. A casual viewer might overlook Carr's work in this day of overblown creative efforts. Most of his paintings are small and intimate. But if one pauses to examine — what reward to the discriminating eye.