"Four Figures" (1940) by Hans Burkhardt, pastel on paper, 24" x 18"
As the first exhibition of 2012, the College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present a collection of work by the influential, Los Angeles-based artist Hans Burkhardt, whose varied and ever-changing body of work has been credited with emotionally enhancing the Modernist art movement.
Having immigrated to New York from Switzerland in 1924, Burkhardt participated in the genesis of what would become the “New York School” and the beginning of the Abstract Expressionist movement.
The artist’s work shifted upon his move to Los Angeles in 1937, as Burkhardt expanded his abstract expressionist style, with his unique expansive vision and poignant response to the human experience.
With his works regularly taking the form of profound war protests, Burkhardt produced pieces in response to nearly every war of the 20th Century, including the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and various conflicts in Central America and the Middle East.
Though somewhat controversial in their time, Burkhardt’s paintings have been described by art historians as “among the greatest war paintings – especially modern war paintings, made,” with Burkhardt himself hailed as “Goya’s spiritual heir” and someone who “metamorphoses the experience of war and violence into works of beauty.”
However, Burkhardt simultaneously created works that also expressed his own feelings of celebration and hope, prompting the artist to once comment “I paint the way I live,” and refer to his paintings as “the fierce ones and the happy ones.”
“The Expansive Vision of Hans Burkhardt: Drawings of an American Master” opens Tuesday, January 24, and will run through Thursday, March 1. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to The Hans G. & Thordis W. Burkhardt Foundation, in partnership with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.
A special Grand Opening of the exhibition will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the COC Art Gallery. In addition, a unique guest speaking engagement featuring Jack Rutberg and guest curator Richard Shelton will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9.
“We are very fortunate indeed to have this magnificent loan of historic Hans Burkhardt drawings from Jack Rutberg Fine Arts,” said Larry Hurst, COC Art Gallery director. “This generous loan of drawings spans the years 1930 to 1988, and will provide a museum quality experience for our students, staff and community members.”
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to call (661) 362-3612 toschedule a viewing appointment. All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.
For more information about the College of the Canyons Art Gallery or the exhibition “The Expansive Vision of Hans Burkhardt: Drawings of an American Master” visit www.canyons.edu/artgallery.