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Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1952
Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1950
Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1952
Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1952
Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1949
Elmer Bischoff #3, 1948
Elmer Bischoff Untitled, 1948
Elmer Bischoff Rocking Horse, 1950
Elmer Bischoff Installation View
Elmer Bischoff Show Announcement
Elmer Bischoff Show Announcement (continued)

Press Release

The George Adams Gallery is pleased to announce its representation of the Estate of Elmer Bischoff and to present an exhibition of abstract paintings dating from 1948-1952.  The exhibition, which consists of mostly large-scale works, focuses on the period that falls between his earlier anthropomorphic work and his figurative paintings of the 1950s and 1960s that helped define Bay Area Figurative painting.

The earliest painting in the exhibition, "#3," 1948, is a work that illustrates the artist's transition into abstraction. It was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Art that same year in "Bischoff, Park, Smith," an occasion that announced the participation of these West Coast artists in the broader movement of Abstract Expressionism. In this painting the ancient ritual objects that figure prominently in many of Bischoff's earlier works are reduced to radiating lines, bold colors and thick, gestural brushstrokes.

During this period, stimulated by his interest in jazz, improvisation became an important element in his approach to painting. An example of this is the strikingly off-kilter composition of "Untitled," 1949 in which the forms seem to be pushed centrifugally from the center toward the edges of the canvas. Bischoff took improvisation even further in "Untitled," 1952, a large, horizontal canvas in which expansive gestural strokes move rapidly across the canvas, animating the composition.

Bischoff was born in 1916 in Berkeley, California and earned a B.A. and then an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.  Bischoff taught drawing and painting at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) starting in 1946 and was a central figure in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene until his death in 1991.  While Bischoff is perhaps best known for his figurative painting of the 1950s and 1960s, the paintings in this exhibition show a commitment to gesture, color and form that are not only central elements of his figurative works, but also in his later abstractions of the 1970s and 1980s.

Elmer Bischoff: Abstract Paintings 1948-1952 will continue through December 27, 2008.


Untitled, 1952
oil on canvas
56 x 67 7/8 inches
EBp 11

Untitled, 1950
oil on canvas
66 x 56 inches
EBp 10

Untitled, 1952
oil on canvas
67 7/8 x 52 inches
EBp 7

Untitled, 1952
oil on canvas
57 ¾ x 68 inches
EBp 8

5 .  
Untitled, 1949  
oil on canvas
43 ¾ x 36 inches
EBp 1

#3, 1948
oil on canvas
47 x 31 inches
EBp 5

Untitled, 1948                      
oil on canvas
34 x 42 inches
EBp 4  

Rocking Horse, 1950
oil on canvas
54 5/8 x 44 inches
EBp 6