M. Halber­stadt Photog­ra­pher

San Francisco Bay Area Artists Community from 1945 to 1970.

Following the second world war the San Fran­cisco Bay area attracted many creatives seeking a better envi­ron­ment to live and work in. Their intro­duc­tion to the area may have been posting at any one of the many mili­tary bases scat­tered around the bay. From Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato to Fort Ord Army Base in Monterey, mili­tary instal­la­tions processed over a million servicemen. While the indus­trial complex built ship­yards, cargo was loaded and unloaded on the Embar­cardo and Port Oakland creating new jobs and new neigh­bors of those who flocked to the open oppor­tu­ni­ties and great weather the area offered.
Many returned with GI loans to settle their fami­lies or go to school, never to leave. The weather was perfect, the sky clear and the light crisp. Commu­ni­ties welcomed new neigh­bors as if they were home­steaders on the prairie. Marin City, once ship­yard housing, turned into cheap places to live for writers and artists. Aban­doned barges in Sausalito soon had roofs and plumbing, the neigh­bor­hoods began to expand.

In this day and age gallery artists and commer­cial artists do not mix, but after the war the creative commu­nity was the creative commu­nity. Co-mingling was for a common cause – creativity. Creative solu­tions were creative solu­tions no matter what the media or project. Art Direc­tors had gone to art school classes along­side of painters, sculp­tors, print­makers and photog­ra­phers. In those days Art Direc­tors needed to know how to draw, paint design and set type. The San Fran­cisco Art Insti­tute until 1963 had a design depart­ment where graphic design was taught by, among others, Joan Brown. Before Blair Stapp and Gerry Burchard worked at this same insti­tu­tion they worked for M. Halber­stadt Illus­tra­tion Photog­raphy. It is now wonder they were creatively intrigued by each other’s work and the new styles and tech­niques being exper­i­mented with.

This blog is a collab­o­ra­tive project. While the most noted artists from that period such as Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, Imogen Cunninghan, Richard Diebenkorn are cele­brated and sold, many are forgotten or soon-to-be-forgotten. These artists and designers have changed the way we see things. They are part of art history, the history of the Bay Area and our lives.