Mary Lovelace O'Neal

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Mary Lovelace O'Neal
Mary Lovelace

(1942-02-10) February 10, 1942 (age 77)
Jackson, Mississippi
Alma materHoward University,
Columbia University
Known forpainting, printmaker and Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley
MovementBlack Arts Movement
Spouse(s)John O'Neal,
Patricio Moreno Toro

Mary Lovelace O'Neal (born February 10, 1942) is an American artist and arts educator. Her work is focused on abstracted mixed-media (primarily painting and printmaking) and minimalism, she is a Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley. O'Neal's art has been exhibited widely throughout North America and internationally, with group and solo shows in Italy, France, Chile, Senegal and Nigeria.[1] She lives and works in Oakland, California, and maintains studios in Chile.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mary Lovelace was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on February 10, 1942. She credits her father for nurturing her love of the arts.[2] During her childhood and adolescence O'Neal's father, Ariel Lovelace, was choir director and professor of music at Tougaloo College and the University of Arkansas.[3]

O'Neal attended Howard University in Washington, DC, from 1960 to 1964 and studied with David Driskell, Lois Mailou Jones and James A. Porter, receiving her B.F.A. in 1964. During her time at Howard University, O'Neal became active in the Civil Rights Movement and mentored by many influential leaders in the movement, including Stokely Carmichael, Jacob Lawrence and his wife, painter Gwendolyn Lawrence.[1] She worked briefly at the Free Southern Theater (FST) with one of the theatre founders, her first husband John O'Neal.[4]

O'Neal continued her fine arts education at Columbia University, studying with Aja Junger, Stephen Greene, Leon Golden and Andra Rat. While at Columbia, O'Neal became involved in the Black Art Movement in New York City, which further influenced her work.[1] She received her M.F.A. from Columbia University in 1969.[1]


Mary Lovelace O'Neal's paintings have progressed through different phases over her long career, beginning with loose forms and evolving to more precise patterns. O'Neal has received numerous awards and exhibited in many national and international exhibitions throughout her career.[1] She was invited as resident artist to participate in the international arts festival in Asilah, Morocco, in 1983. O'Neal curated an exhibition for the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile, "17 Artistas Latino y Afro Americanos en USA" in 1991. Two years later, she received the Artist En France Award sponsored by the French government and Moet & Chandon. In 2005, she was selected to represent Mississippi in the Committees Exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

O'Neal started teaching full-time at University of California, Berkeley in 1978[4] by 1985 she was tenured[5] and then appointed in 1999 as the Chair of the Department of Art Practice[5] until her retirement in 2006. She has taught at several institutions in the U.S. including the University of Texas at Austin, San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California.[5] And she has taught internationally at Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogota, Colombia.[2]

In 1983 O'Neal met the Chilean painter Patricio Moreno Toro, eventually remarrying.[4][6]

In 1984 O'Neal worked on monotype printmaking with Robert Blackburn at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York City.[5] She enjoyed the process so much and she explored various other printing processes and printed over 200 prints at Blackburn's shop over the years.[5]

Currently, O'Neal's work is represented in many private and public collections.[2] She continues to exhibit her work internationally.

Her work is in various permanent art collections including Oakland Museum of California,[7] National Gallery of Art,[8] and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mary Lovelace O'Neal bio".
  2. ^ a b c d "Mary Lovelace O'Neal". Rehistoricizing Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area.
  3. ^ Resmer, Emily (December 6, 2002). "The Art and Passions of Mary Lovelace O'Neal". Jackson Free Press.
  4. ^ a b c "m. l. o". art ltd. magazine. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  5. ^ a b c d e LeFalle-Collins, Lizzetta (2013-08-10). "When the Muse Comes a-Callin': In the Print Lab with Mary Lovelace O'Neal". NYU Black Renaissance Noire. New York University (NYU). Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  6. ^ "Patricio Moreno Toro bio". Art&Beyond. Art & Beyond Publications. March 10, 2015. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  7. ^ "2005.124.3 Mary Lovelace O'Neal". Oakland Museum of CA (OMCA) Collections. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  8. ^ "O'Neal artist Info". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  9. ^ "...And a Twinkle in Your Eye"/Daddy #6". Cuseum.