John Altoon Biography
Died At Age: 43
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Born in: Los Angeles, California, United States
Famous as: Painter
siblings: Carmen Altoon
U.S. State: California
City: Los Angeles
education: Art Center College of Design, Otis College of Art and Design
John Altoon was an influential avant-garde American artist of his time who dominated the art scene of 1950s and ‘60s Los Angeles. Most of his works came under abstract expressionism, the first true artistic movement that emerged out of America. He rose to prominence as a part of a group of artists referred to as the ‘Ferus Group’ because of their association with the Ferus Gallery. This group included artists like Edward Keinholtz, Robert Irwin, Ed Ruscha, Ed Moses and Larry Bell among others. A highly popular figure in all his circles, this boisterous painter was a very passionate individual whose personality left a far greater legacy than his artistic works. By the end of his thirties, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he was only 43 when he passed away following a massive heart attack. This marked the tragic end to the life of a lively, boozing, skirt-chasing man harried by bouts of depression and episodes of mania that was often destructive and violent.
The life of the person who had charmed everybody took a tragic turn when in his late 30’s he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Altoon suffered from frequent bouts of paranoia and depression. At the heights of such bouts, he would turn uncontrollably violent and would often destroy his own works. Eventually, at a relatively young age of 44, he died of a major heart attack. Though his works have been exhibited and has received much more attention of late, his true legacy will always lie in the sheer exuberance with which he lived his life. He was survived by his sister Carmen Altoon, his nephew, Jerry Shodall and niece, Laura Shodall.
JOHN ALTOON TIMELINE
Born in Los Angeles, California, America
Underwent formal training in art in three different institutesOtis Art Institute, Art Center College of Design and Chouinard Art Institute.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia
Died of a massive heart attack
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