Darrel Austin is one of America's most unique artists. Born in Raymond, Washington in 1907, he resided in New Fairfield Connecticut from the early 1940s until his death in 1994. Austin is a true "American Master" with features in Time Magazine (June 1, 1942) and Life Magazine (October 1, 1945). Until his death in 1994, Austin was represented by Perls Galleries in New York City starting in 1940 and Harmon-Meek Gallery since 1964. Austin's paintings are in the permanent collections of many great museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
Among contemporary American artists Darrel Austin has often been thought of as a loner in the sense that his work is unlike any art movement either during his lifetime or since. Austin has created a unique world, separate but similar to ours with its own particular landscape, its own sun and moon, its own beasts, and its own race of whimsical humanoid inhabitants.
A link could be made to the major movement in his lifetime - surrealism - but this too falls short of classifying Austin's work. Unlike Austin's work, Surrealism does not represent fantasy but rather an intellectual manipulation of images in unexpected context. The art of deliberately shocking disharmonies does not match Austin's creations of a harmonious other-world from his own imagination.
"Darrel Austin's isolation helps explain why his paintings, once seen, stick in the memory with such unusual persistence. Who could forget an encounter, so unexpected, with one of his great cat-like creatures, or one of the phosphorescent bulls that inhabit his moonstruck woods and swamps?" (John Canaday "Darrel Austin: A Retrospective View", McNay Art Institute, 1982)
Rising Naiad by Darrel Austin,
Oil on canvas, 30"x40", 1982