Elmer Bischoff "Figurative Paintings, 1953-1966"

George Adams Gallery

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GEORGE ADAMS GALLERY presents an exhibition of paintings by Elmer Bischoff. The works in the exhibition span the first half of the 20 year period between 1953 and 1973 in which Bischoff, co-founder of the Bay Area Figurative School with Richard Diebenkorn and David Park, introduces and develops his figurative style.

The earliest canvases in the exhibition date from 1953 and show the pronounced influence of Bonnard and Toulouse-Lautrec in both palette and composition. These paintings, intensely chromatic and tightly composed, are personal in nature; for example “Green Bathtub” shows Bischoff’s wife with his young son Gregory in the bath, while “Cortez Square” and “Playground,” from 1953 and 1954 respectively, depict children at play. By the late 1950s, however, this theme is supplanted by depictions of figures in the studio (“Two Models,” 1960) or in the landscape (“Figure with White Lake, 1964” and “Adam and Eve,” 1966), as well as by a cooler and more limited palette. In addition, the paintings introduce a more heavily impastoed surface, the hallmark of the Bay Area Figurative style.

Elmer Bischoff was born in Berkeley, California in 1916 and died there in 1991. He has been the subject of several retrospective exhibitions, including two organized by the Oakland Museum, California, in 1975 and 2001, and one staged by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1985. A figurative painter at the outset of his career, Bischoff experimented with a form of surrealism during the 1940s before enthusiastically embracing Abstract Expressionism. In 1948 the Museum of Art in San Francisco (now SFMoMA) featured Bischoff, along with Park and Hassel Smith, in the first West Coast museum exhibition to focus on this new way of painting. Around 1952, however, Bischoff and colleagues Diebenkorn and Park abandoned abstraction in favor of the loose, painterly style that became known as Bay Area Figurative and for which Bischoff is best known.

In the Drawing Gallery, the rare early graphic work in the summer exhibition H.C. WESTERMANN: WOODCUTS, LINOCUTS, AND LITHOGRAPHS 1962 – 1975 will remain on display. The show will be expanded to include sculpture and additional prints Westermann completed in the 1960s and 1970s.



from September 10, 2010 to October 30, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-09-16 from 18:00 to 20:00


Elmer Bischoff

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