Howard Warshaw Biography

Stone and Claw, 1947

8 x 12.25 inches  |  oil on canvas

Howard Warshaw was born and educated in New York City. In 1941, he returned to New York for two years to receive his formal training as a student at the Art Students League and the National Academy. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Southern California, where he lived and worked for the remainder of his life. For a short time he taught at Jepson Art Institute; there he met and became friends with Rico Lebrun and Eugene Berman. These two pioneering artists were to have a profound impact on the young Warshaw. In 1957, Warshaw became a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lebrun and Berman became his unofficial teachers for several years—by their friendship and constructive review of his work, they left an influence that would stay with Warshaw for the remainder of his career. In a 1977 Memoriam his fellow professors wrote, “the paintings and drawings of Warshaw's early period, in the surrealist manner, though distinctly his own, clearly reflect the neoromantic influence of Berman. His friendship with Lebrun quickened an interest in cubism which was to last throughout his life, though the element of surrealism in his work never quite disappeared.” The artist died in Santa Barbara, California in 1977.

Videos

4:09 | Jeremy Tessmer | Released for HOWARD WARSHAW: New Forms, 2012

4:36 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for The Art of Santa Barbara: 1875-2016, 2016

3:33  |  Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer  |  Released for Celebrating 30 Years of Art: 1984-2014, 2014

4:02 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for L.A.'s RISEN, 2011

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ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK

A pronounced shift in American Art occurred at the end of WWII. The 1945 Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting has long been recognized as heralding the emergence of the New York School with the debut of works by Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Mark Tobey. This exhibition signaled a changing of the guard. One other artist made his debut in the show-Howard Warshaw.

Warshaw was born in New York City in 1920. He began formal training at the Pratt Institute and the National Academy. His studies continued at the Art Students League and at Columbia University. In 1942, disqualified for military service, Warshaw left for Los Angeles in search of direction. He soon found it.

Having tried his hand at animation for Disney, Warshaw’s path became clear with the patronage and encouragement of collector and actor Vincent Price. Securing funds for a short return to New York, Warshaw left with a letter of introduction to Dorothy Miller, associate curator of paintings under Alfred Barr at the Museum of Modern Art. He received Miller’s legendary support for emerging talent, and Warshaw was introduced to dealer Julian Levy who gave the young artist his first solo exhibition in 1945. More importantly, Levy introduced Warshaw to Southern California based Eugene Berman and Rico Lebrun who also exhibited at the Levy Gallery. Returning to Los Angeles, Warshaw developed lasting friendships with both men. Their artistic influences, most notably, Berman’s deep appreciation of baroque compositional elements and Lebrun’s philosophical humanism and expressive draftsmanship formed part of Warshaw’s artistic lexicon. Warshaw’s work evolved rapidly during this period, and he received critical recognition including invitations to join eight Annual Exhibitions at the Whitney.

That year, Warshaw accepted a teaching position at Ohio State University. Artistically isolated and without funds, Warshaw regretted the move. However, it was in this period that he developed his organic cubism which became characteristic of his mature style. He developed a dynamic system of multiple perspective which captured the relationships between the object observed and the “extra-painting” or indirect references sought by the artist. Retuning to Los Angeles the following year, Warshaw, and his colleague Rico Lebrun, became recognized as the forefront of contemporary art in Southern California. Warshaw enjoyed national acclaim with multiple bi-coastal exhibitions and awards including solo exhibitions with dealers Frank Perls in Los Angeles and Jacques Selligmann in New York and a retrospective in 1955 at the Pasadena Museum of Art.

That same year, Warshaw departed Los Angeles and accepted a faculty appointment at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Over the next two decades, Warshaw developed a curriculum that emphasized his approaches to the human figure, fine draftsmanship, and organic cubism. During this time, his work expanded to include multi-media collage and monumental murals. This work encompassed dramatic cinematic compositions of multiple figures and engaging spatial relationships. In his later years, Warshaw began prophetic experiments with commercial printing and mass-media technologies. Warshaw died in 1977 at age 56.

 

 

COLLECTIONS

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Neuberger Musuem of Art – SUNY, Purchase, NY,
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles, CA
University of California at Santa Barbara – Art Museum, Santa Barbara, CA
Whitney Museum, New York, NY

 

 

AWARDS

1948  2nd Prize - Paintings, Artists of Los Angeles & Vicinity
1948  1st Prize - Drawings, Artists of Los Angeles & Vicinity
1949  Purchase Prize, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, LA, CA
1950  Purchase Prize, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, LA, CA
1953  Purchase Prize, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, LA, CA
1956  Purchase Prize, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, LA, CA
1958  Purchase Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

 

 

MURALS

University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
University of California, Riverside, CA
University of California, San Diego, CA
University of California, WPA Murals, Los Angeles, CA
Bowdoin College, Deposition and the Daily News, Brunswick ME
Wylie Laboratories, El Segundo, CA,
Santa Barbara Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Drawings on Drawing: A Graphic Reflexion on the Language of Drawing. Santa Barbara, California: Ross-Erikson, 1981.
2. Drawings of the Watergate Hearings. Esther Santa Barbara, California: Esther Bear Gallery, 1973. A limited, numbered edition.
3. Warshaw, Howard. Proof, Proof, Proof. Los Angeles: Egg and the Eye, n.d. [1970s?]. A limited, numbered signed edition of seventeen prints.
4. Warshaw: A Decade of Murals. Brunswick, Maine: Bowdoin College Museum of Art,1972.
5. Howard Warshaw 1970. Los Angeles: Silvan Simone Gallery, 1970.
6. Howard Warshaw: Recent Paintings & Drawings. Los Angeles: Felix Landow Gallery, 1967.
7. The Fables & Foibles of Professor Nimbus. by Stephan Lackner, illustrated by Warshaw. Santa Barbara, California: Noel Young, 1966.
8. A Retrospective Exhibition of the Paintings of Howard Warshaw. Exhibit held at the UC at Santa Barbara Art Gallery. Santa Barbara, California: Noel Young at Capra Press, 1964.
9. Howard Warshaw; Master Drawing 1988

 

 

EXHIBITIONS

Solo Exhibitions (selected list)

2012 "Howard Warshaw: New Forms", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA

2008 "Howard Warshaw: Looking In, Drawing Out", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA

2004  "Howard Warshaw", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA

1988  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1988  Howard Warshaw Master Draftsman, Sonoma State University, Sonoma, CA

1977  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1977  Warshaw: A Continuing Tradition, University of California at Santa Barbara, CA

1976  Larcada Gallery, New York, NY

1974  Larcada Gallery, New York, NY

1973  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1972  Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME

1970  Howard Warshaw 1970, Silvan Simone Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1964  Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, University of California at Santa Barbara

1962-1973  Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

1962  Jacques Seigmann, New York, NY

1961  Jacques Seigmann, New York, NY

1959  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1958  Jacques Seigmann, New York, NY

1955  Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Etchings, Lithographs,
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA

1953  Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1952  Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1950  Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1949  Frank Perls Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1945  Julian Levy Gallery, New York, NY

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