Fred Dalkey is an American artist known for figurative work made primarily with oils and pastels. He was born in 1943 in Sacramento, CA. In 1960, he won an art scholarship to Sacramento City College, where he met lifelong friends Gregory Kondos and Wayne Thiebaud. Dalkey was a student of Kondos’, and Thiebaud held the art department chairman position before Kondos took over in 1962. Dalkey then transferred to California State University Sacramento, where he received his BA and MFA. He later became an art department lecturer and instructor at his alma mater from 1969 to 1973, and a drawing professor at Sacramento City College from 1969 until 2009.
In 1997, Dalkey was invited to make etchings with Enrique Chagoya, June Felter, and Nathan Oliveira at Crown Point Press. The group of artists participated in the project Why Draw a Live Model? “Working from the figure gives an artist permission to be objective,” he said. “It’s a physical response, an empathetic response to nature. For me, the figure is the most direct means to generate this.” Dalkey develops rich tones that give realistic renderings to his portraits; he begins with a light gestural drawing and builds value, creating a sense of time and place by capturing the light and shadows that interact with the figure. Although most known for his portraiture, Dalkey has also worked in landscape and abstraction. A frequent subject of his work is his wife, Victoria, who is an art critic for the Sacramento Bee. She has said that her husband “knows the world through his drawings, made obsessively every day, made with the desire to understand what he sees, to understand the act of seeing, to see it without naming or judging.”
Dalkey received the Academy-Institute Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters in 1992. He had his first retrospective in 2002 at the Crocker Art Museum where he once worked as a security guard. He shows regularly in Sacramento and is represented by Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco. His work is held in the collections of the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Fred Dalkey lives in Sacramento.