DeFeo, Jay [Mary Joan]
- Mary M. Tinti
(b Hanover, NH, March 31, 1929; d Oakland, CA, Nov 11, 1989).
American sculptor, painter and photographer. Although born in New England, DeFeo moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family in 1931. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950 and 1951, respectively. Honored with a university traveling fellowship, DeFeo spent a year and a half in Europe before returning to California. She married artist Wally Hedrick (1928–2003) in 1954 and the couple resided in San Francisco alongside fellow Beat-era, avant-garde talents Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Allen Ginsberg, and Michael McClure.
Despite the myriad of drawings, paintings, and photographs that made up her oeuvre, much of DeFeo’s career and reputation were subsumed by The Rose (1958–66; originally titled Deathrose, and briefly The White Rose; New York, Whitney), a monumental abstract painting whose legendary creation spanned the better part of a decade. For eight years, DeFeo painted, contoured, stripped, layered, worked and reworked the surface of her canvas, which eventually grew to 3.27×2.34 m. Fan-like folds of paint radiated from the center of ...