William Pachner: Works from the 1960s

January 7 – March 18, 2012
Ninety-seven year old artist William Pachner has been one of the major forces in the development of the Tampa Bay region’s art scene. This exhibition of Pachner’s work focuses on the important decade of the 1960s.

January 7 – March 18, 2012
Tampa Museum of Art

Ninety-seven year old artist William Pachner (b. 1914) has been one of the major forces in the development of the Tampa Bay region’s art scene. This exhibition of Pachner’s work focuses on the important decade of the 1960s. During this period, Pachner split his time between the Tampa Bay region and Woodstock, New York and explored abstraction as a vocabulary to come to terms with his complicated personal history and his newfound freedom of expression.

The Sacrifice, 1962

Pachner, a native of Czechoslovakia, had a childhood characterized by tragedy. He lost 80 members of his family in the Holocaust. This fact shaped both his humanity and his approach to painting. He has consistently returned to motifs that reference the brutality of the Holocaust; in particular, the train became a symbol for the journey that led many Jews to their deaths. He emigrated to the United States and became an artist on staff of Esquire magazine during the 1940s. After a couple of years, however, Pachner left the magazine and dedicated himself full-time to painting and teaching. In 1951, Pachner began to live and work in Florida for part of the year. This same year, he was appointed instructor of painting and drawing at the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center in Clearwater, and in 1956, the Center appointed him director of the art program. The following year, he began teaching at the Tampa Art Institute and established the William Pachner School of Art in Clearwater. He was celebrated in 1959 with a retrospective exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts.

Arrival Departure, 1964

For a generation of art students and aficionados, Pachner symbolized this region’s growing connection to the art world of New York, and his full embrace of abstraction pushed many to explore the genre. Beginning in the 1960s, he was one of the few abstract painters to be championed by the Florida art community, and his work attracted a small, but dedicated, following. Writing in 1966 about an exhibition of Pachner’s paintings in Jacksonville, art critic Elihu Edelson called Pachner, the “best artist in Florida.”

The Museum celebrates the triumphant art of William Pachner – artist, teacher, and visionary.

Night Train, 1964

WILLIAM PACHNER – SELECTED WORK: 1960-1970

January 27 – March 17, 2012
The show presents a selection of recurrent themes which reveal the concept of the “ephemeral moment” in Pachner’s work. The images include variations of his idea of landscape, the interior, and other visual memories, derived from the native-land of his childhood in Czechoslovakia and the precious, life experience of his time in America.

January 27 – March 17, 2012
Brad Cooper Gallery, Ybor City, FL

WILLIAM PACHNER: SELECTED WORK 1960-1970 is made up of oils, pastels, and drawings. The show presents a selection of recurrent themes which reveal the concept of the “ephemeral moment” in Pachner’s work. The images include variations of his idea of landscape, the interior, and other visual memories, derived from the native-land of his childhood in Czechoslovakia and the precious, life experience of his time in America.

Seaside Rooms, 1964 oil on linen, 20 x 18 inches

By the 1960’s, William Pachner had been invited to exhibit in the Corcoran Biennial, the Carnegie International and the Whitney Museum of Art annual and had a long list of solo shows in New York Galleries and a retrospective exhibition at the Ringling Museum.

Living in both in Florida and Woodstock, New York, among numerous colleagues and respected artist friends (Philip Guston, Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Edward Chase) Pachner was a contemporary voice telling his story, affirming his reverence for life, in the face of the heartbreaking loss of his entire family in the holocaust.

Persistent Theme III, 1964 oil on linen, 36 x 34 inches

Spontaneous improvisation, individuality and the action of his exuberantly visual thinking is revealed in Pachner’s body of work. His work is unified not because it fits into one stylistic category or another, but because it has been sustained from a tragic experience, is an effective critique of the concept of stylistic categories, and of the related idea of fixed singular meanings. The cumulative meaning of Pachner’s imagery is that meanings are elusive, because meanings we attach significance to, are in the state of becoming. In the history of art, Pachner’s work will continue to resonate, remain reflective and fresh.

WILLIAM PACHNER was born in the Czech Republic in 1915. He studied at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Vienna and later worked with Melantrich Publishing in Prague before coming to the United States. In 1940 he was hired as art director of Esquire Magazine, but within three years, left Esquire to do his part in the anti-Nazi crusade creating anti-fascist illustrations which were published in well-known magazines such as Colliers, Cosmopolitan and Redbook. As the war ended, he learned of the tragic loss of his entire family. He turned away from commercial art to begin his serious work. In 1945, Pachner made his home in Woodstock, New York and in 1980 became a resident of Tampa, Florida. A Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of two Ford Foundation awards for painting (1959-1964), William Pachner has been given more than twelve one-man shows in New York City. He has exhibited by invitation in the Corcoran Biennial, the Carnegie International, the Whitney Museum Annuals and in other national shows at the Pennsylvania Academy and the Detroit Institute of Fine Art. In 1965, Pachner was chosen to exhibit in the United States, Fine Arts Pavilion of the New York Worlds Fair. He is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshorn Museum, Brandeis University’s Rose Gallery, the Butler Institute of American Art, Iowa State Teachers College, Ein-Harod Museum in Israel, and many other distinguished public and private collections.
William Pachner has exhibited with Brad Cooper Gallery since 1985. Visit www.bradcoopergallery.com for further information.

Viewing Hours are Friday and Saturday, 12 noon until 5pm; viewing is also available by special appointment; please call 813-248-6098. This exhibition runs in concurrence with the Tampa Museum of Art exhibition of William Pachner: Work from the 1960’s.

Originally Viewed on Art@Bay