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Erle Loran
Erle Loran Modernist Abstract Colorful Gouache Painting California Artist

$700

About

Mixed media on paper, each with estate of the artist label affixed verso. Born: October 3, 1905, Minneapolis, MN Died: May 13, 1999, Berkeley, CA Erle Loran was born in 1905 in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 3, 1905. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Loran studied at the Minneapolis School of Art under direction of Cameron Booth. His talent was recognized early when in 1926, he won the Paris Prize of $6,000.00 offered by the John Armstrong Chaloner Foundation of New York City for travel and study which provided him the benefit of a traveling scholarship to Europe where he lived in the studio of Paul Cézanne. This exposure provided much influence to Loran's life, where he saw the works of Picasso and other mid century European modernists. Upon his return to the United States he published many articles on Cezanne. Loran moved to Northern California in 1936 and in 1937 he began his long teaching career in the art department of the University of California Berkeley. Worth Ryder invited Loran to join the faculty in 1936. Loran became identified as a leading exponent of the “Berkeley School,” a term coined by a San Francisco critic. The work of the group reflected Cézanne's concepts but placed greater emphasis on linear and texture. Loran, together with his colleagues, Ryder, Margaret Peterson, and John Haley, were to lead the way out of a parochial attitude toward art into the modern era and to recognize the importance of abstraction in the works of Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee, and other European artists. The Berkeley group, besides painting in oils and watercolor, made extensive use of gouache and egg tempera. Landscapes and cityscapes were major themes, including painting coastal areas, and the mountains and deserts of the West. By the end of the 1940s, Loran's work became increasingly abstract. He was to execute a number of non-objective works, but most of all his output was referential. Early in his career he had done some etchings and engravings and in the 1960s did a series of signed abstract lithographs at the Tamarind Lithography Institute in Los Angeles. In 1940, he was among a group of twenty artists who produced original prints for the San Francisco Chronicle's Contemporary Graphic Series. It would also be during this period that Loran would associate himself with modernist Hans Hoffman. Loran served as the department's chair in the early 1950s. Loran instituted a program of appointment of visiting artists to serve on the faculty, such as Kitaj, John Grillo, David Hockney, George McNeil, Jimi Suzuki, and Wolf Kahn. He was instrumental in adding distinguished professionals to the faculty such as Felix Ruvolo, Joan Brown, David Park, and Peter Voulkos. In the roster of his students who have attained distinction are Sam Francis, Ynez Johnston, Jay DeFeo, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and Robert Colescott. It was his friendship with Willem de Kooning that led the artist to come to the Berkeley campus and execute two large lithographs, “Litho #1” and “Litho #2.” In the late 1960s, his work became a fusing of Op art, Pop art, and Hard Edge. From this he moved to figurative painting and later to geometric designs and symbols.He compiled his knowledge of Cezanne into his 1943 book, Cézannes Composition. Loran was member of the San Francisco Art Association, the California Watercolor Society, and the University of California Berkeley Arts Club. Solo exhibitions of his work were mounted at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Pasadena Museum of Art, de Young Memorial Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Institute and he was included in numerous group exhibitions across the United States. His work is represented in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University of Minnesota, Denver Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the University of California Berkeley.

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About the Artist

Erle Loran

Erle Loran was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1905. He attended the University of Minnesota for a while before studying at the Minneapolis School of Art, under Cameron Booth, and graduated in 1926. Loran was awarded a traveling scholarship from the Chaloner Foundation (Paris Prize) after graduation and spent the next four years in Europe, living in Cézanne’s studio. Loran had always been fascinated by the work of the artist Paul Cézanne, and it motivated him throughout his life both in his painting and writing. He would later pen several books and articles based on his time spent in what was once Cézanne’s world. Once he returned home, Loran moved to California and began not only painting and continuing his art career, but also took up teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as chairman of the art department from 1952–56 and continued teaching there until his retirement in 1973, where he was awarded a University Citation. Berkeley once again awarded Loran, this time in 1981, declaring him an Emeritus Professor. During the 1940s, Loran belonged to a group of some 20 artists that produced lithographs for the “Chronicle Contemporary Graphics” project. Around the same time, he published two books (one of which was the successful Cézanne Composition) and two articles in art magazines the following decade. By the late 1960s, Loran had changed focus and began painting more abstract images, fusing Op Art, Pop Art and Hard Edge. Perhaps his new direction was influenced by his time spent in New York learning under the artist Hans Hoffman, an artist from Europe who was heavily interested in bringing modern European techniques and philosophies to America. Loran was eventually hindered by visual impairment but continued painting until about a year before his death. He passed away in Berkeley, California, in 1999. (Biography provided by Robert Azensky Fine Art)
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