Elmer Bischoff

Elmer Nelson Bischoff (July 9, 1916 – March 2, 1991) was a visual artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bischoff, along with Richard Diebenkorn and David Park, was part of the post-World War II generation of artists who started as abstract painters and found their way back to figurative art.Wikipedia

 Elmer Bischoff is best known as a founder of Bay Area figuration, along with his close friends and colleagues Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. Characterized by rich coloration and painterly technique that borrowed nearly as much as it rejected from Abstract Expressionism, Bay Area figuration became recognized as a significant movement as a result of a survey exhibition organized by the Oakland Art Museum in 1955. That same year Bischoff had a critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the San Francisco School of Fine Art where he had just been appointed chair of the graduate program.
Having previously experimented with surrealism and abstraction throughout the 1940s, Bischoff began to work figuratively in 1952, a year after Park and two years before Diebenkorn. The strong influence of Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard on Bischoff is evident in the earliest work included in the exhibition, “Playground,” 1954. However, By the mid-1950s Bischoff’s brushwork and palette became more assertive while his subject matter suggests close study of Edward Hopper and Edvard Munch. Included in the exhibition are three examples:  “Montgomery Block,” 1955; “Woman Getting A Haircut,” 1962; and “Figure at Window,” 1966. (George Adams Gallery )

 In 1972, after 20 years of working figuratively, Bischoff returned to abstraction. He also began working with acrylic paints and, in contrast to his figurative work, these new canvases are full of color and light. For Bischoff the shift to abstraction was liberating, but it is his figurative work that is the basis of his reputation and is still considered the highpoint of his artistic achievement. (George Adams Gallery )

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