Plaster Moon I, c. 1960
Wood, plaster, cardboard, oil-based enamel
79 x 15 1/2 x 2 1/4 in
(189.87 × 46.99 × 38.10 cm)

Manuel Neri (1930—2021) was a Bay Area artist whose sculptural practice was rooted in the desire to explore and manipulate material, beginning with cardboard and junk materials and later oscillating between plaster, bronze and marble. Neri studied under Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff at the California School of Fine Arts and would become well-known for his work exploring the female form. Neri was the youngest artist associated with the Bay Area Figurative tradition, which encompassed a group of artists in the 1950s and 60s who bucked the trend toward Abstract Expressionism and returned to figure-focused art.

At the beginning of his marriage to painter Joan Brown (1962–66), the two artists shared a studio and often cited the other’s work in their own. Brown painted Neri’s sculptures in several paintings, Neri often used Brown as a model and both artists created multiple works depicting the moon.