Theme/Style – Cubism, figurative art, still lifes, assemblage, Abstraction
Media – Oils, pastels, linocuts
Artistic Focus – Hans Burkhardt’s artwork went through several important changes – from early pastel nudes, to Arshile Gorky’s influence, and finally to his collage-style skull paintings of the 1980s. He carried Modernism to a new level through the means of fragmentation and extreme depth of composition, creating works which made statements about modern society and politics, particularly to express his antiwar beliefs.
Career Highlights –
- Born in Basel, Switzerland, Hans Burkhardt arrived in New York City in 1924. There he became a student of Arshile Gorky at the Grand Central School of Arts, and was involved with a group of European émigrés who espoused Abstract Expressionism.
- Relocating to Los Angeles in 1937, Burkhardt became a vital link between the avant-garde movements on both coasts, though he never returned permanently to New York. In 1939 Burkhardt held his first one-man show at the Stendhal Galleries in Los Angeles.
- In 1957 a 10-year retrospective took place at the Pasadena Art Museum, and three years later Burkhardt began a long teaching career – first at the University of Southern California, then at the University of California, Los Angeles, and finally at California State University, Northridge from 1963 until his retirement.
- In 1991 the City of Los Angeles honored him by proclaiming Hans Burkhardt Week, and he continued to live and work in Los Angeles until his demise in 1994.
Bibliographic references are available upon request.