David John McCosh was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1903. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Art Institute of Chicago, and working and exhibiting in Iowa, Illinois, and New York in the early 1930s, McCosh relocated to Eugene, Oregon for a faculty position at the University of Oregon. From 1934 to 1970, he taught courses in lithography, drawing, oil painting, and watercolors, and influenced a generation of art students at the UO. McCosh's own work, which became increasingly abstracted over the years, reflected his engagement with his visual surroundings and an emphasis on direct observation of nature.

Following his death in 1981, the artist's widow, Anne Kutka McCosh, generously arranged for a large endowment of McCosh's art, archival materials, and personal belongings to be gifted to the University of Oregon. As the caretaker of the David John McCosh Memorial Collection and Archive, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is home to the largest body of works by and relating to McCosh. This important collection contains over one thousand oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints that are presently available for research. Archival materials include the artist’s correspondence and personal papers, a series of sketchbooks dated between 1927 and 1979, slides taken by the artist during his travels, and a collection of audiotape oral histories conducted with friends and former students of the artist. There is one audiotape interview with the artist conducted in 1977.

The David John McCosh Memorial Collection and Archive are overseen by the UO Foundation, the Executive Director and McCosh Curator of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the members of the McCosh Advisory Committee: Sandra McCosh Leonard, Craig Cheshire, Andrew Cook, Jon Jay Cruson, and Roger Saydack.

Additionally, in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art's permanent collection, there are over 170 works by David McCosh and several by Anne Kutka McCosh.


Exhibition History

Essay: The Making of David McCosh: Early Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Catalog: The Making of David McCosh: Early Paintings, Drawings and Prints. If you would like to purchase the catalog, please contact The Museum Store at 541.346.6441

Video: Art 1:01 David McCosh