Born in Los Angeles, John Altoon studied at the Otis Art Institute and the Chouinard Art Institute. Dreams and fantasies are often the subjects of his color lithographs and watercolor paintings. In these works, ambiguous, organic forms, suggesting fantastic sea animals or body parts, drift across the picture plane. Altoon is known primarily for his gestural paintings and skill as a draftsman. In 1965 he worked at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, which trained a generation of American master printers. Altoon spent most of his career in California.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]