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The Real Inside Story

1973 Roy De Forest Born: North Platte, Nebraska 1930 Died: Vallejo, California 2007 acrylic on canvas 66 x 72 1/8 in. (167.5 x 183.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation 1986.6.89 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In the early 1960s, De Forest turned from making scrap metal constructions and abstract paintings to works in which animals, totemic images, and fantastical beings engage us with storytelling and game playing. In The Real Inside Story, cutaway walls conflate inside and outside worlds, and animals and humans seem both toylike and symbolic. De Forest called art “one of the last strongholds of magic” and described his richly colored and textured fantasy worlds as “unknowable [though] hauntingly familiar.”

Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, 2014


Animal - dog

Animal - horse

Figure - head

Landscape - tree


paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas