Irving Norman Film


Truth be Told:

Irving Norman and the Human Predicament



The 60 minute documentary film examines the life and work of San Francisco Bay Area Social Surreal Artist, Irving Norman, (1906 - 1989). 

Irving Norman examined the world in terms of our hyperkinetic society. Little escaped his scrutiny: the ever-widening economic division between those who have and those who have not, the tragedy of war and the illusion of peace, and the physical and psychological effects of our fast-paced, technologically dependent society on all of us. Through his observations, or as he put it, his diagnosis, certain concepts, or truths emerged and were "fair game" for graphite, watercolor or oil where Irving created canvases of immense size and intricate detail.

Though he may not have realized it at the time, his vision evolved out of American Expressionism and though he understood and admired what his contemporaries were accomplishing in the variety of artistic trends of the day, Irving followed the song of a different muse. He sought a synthesis of the socially relevant themes of the Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco with the freedom of style of Pablo Picasso; a unique blend of the concrete, the abstract and always with a distinct social critique.

It is “Irving-as-artist” the first two-thirds of the film. His latent talent as an artist blossomed along with his self-confidence. The final third examines “Irving-as-human being,” and his relationship with his wife Hela. She understood the importance of his work and set aside her own aspirations to provide an income while Irving focused entirely on his art.

For fifty years his was an ongoing struggle to find legitimacy and yet remain true to his intense vision and firm belief that through the contemplation of his work people could be changed for the better.



THE GOAL IS $12,000.00


It is easy for artists and their work to fade into obscurity over time. Especially art whose content can be considered both thought provoking and extremely challenging. It is your generous support for this project that will allow Irving Norman's legacy to live on and be seen by a more global audience.

All donations are tax-deductible.

What he has given his life to is the perception of humanity as it is told by the story society has written for itself…There is a tender and romantic truth and honesty in Norman’s work that appeals to our innermost sense of rightness and our paradigm of what art is supposed to be. His dedication to painting and painting itself goes to the core of art. Irving Norman is a Master Painter.... Michael Bell, 1983