Forrest Bess

Forrest Bess - Acapulco 1939



Oil Paint


Beautiful landscape titled "Acapulco" by renowned American painter Forrest Bess. Oil on canvas, circa 1939. Dimensions listed are of painting itself without frame. Signed, titled, and dated in lower right corner.

Artist Biography

Forrest Bess (October 5, 1911 – November 10, 1977) was an American painter and eccentric visionary. He was discovered and promoted by the art dealer Betty Parsons. Born October 5, 1911, in Bay City, Texas, Bess lived his life there in virtual isolation, on a strip of land accessible only by boat. "I try to tell myself that only by breaking completely away from society can I arrive at a reasonable existence." A semi-migrant childhood was followed by some years at college, where he began by studying architecture but found himself diverted into studies of religion, psychology, and anthropology, readings that would later inform his own radical theories. Bess's small paintings are filled with elemental and highly personal images. To Bess, his visions and the resulting paintings came to represent a pictorial language that he believed had universal significance. Along with medical and psychological theories based on his own unguided scholarship, he believed his imagery formed a blueprint for an ideal human state, with the potential to relieve mankind of suffering and death. Dropping out of university in 1932, Bess worked for several years roughnecking in the Beaumont oil fields, and also made several trips to Mexico. It was during this time he began to exhibit his paintings, earning one-person shows at museums in San Antonio and Houston. During the war he enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers and was given the task of designing camouflage, until he suffered a psychological breakdown and left the service. After living for a while in San Antonio, he finally settled at his family's camp at Chinquapin, near Bay City.


H 18 in. x W 20 in. x D 1 in.