William Scharf, American (1927 - )

William Scharf is an abstract-expressionist painter. His work is noted for its expansive color applied with sweeping gestures and bold structures. He is an artist who seems better known among other artists than the general public. From November, 2000 to January, 2001, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC held an exhibition of his paintings.

In the catalog of that exhibition, titled "The Paintings of William Scharf," Hilton Kramer wrote: "It is with the work of the early years of the New York School that all of Scharf's recent paintings have their closest affinities. . . .This was a period in which myth and ritual, the primitive and the archaic, and concepts of the sacred based more on poetry and ethnology than on theology were advanced as appropriate 'subjects' for a mode of abstraction that abjured both the representation of recognizable objects and the restrictive geometry of constructivist form."

In the same catalog, essayist Brian O'Doherty describes Scharf's paintings as "an organic paradise---cells, magnifications of organic fragments, biomorphs, scenarios of metamorphosis, archetypes, fish; distances---a sky with sudden surprising windows into a further sky; a cacophony of signs in which occasional squares reside like authorial escutcheons---all set in those life-giving elements of air and water.

Born in Media, Pennsylvania, Scharf showed art talent at an early age, and when he was ten years old, he showed his drawings to N.C. Wyeth, who was encouraging and give him art supplies. Seven years later, Wyeth, declaring "this boy has the stuff, successfully promoted Scharf's admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

After serving in the U.S. Army Corps, he also took classes at the Barnes Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania and traveled to Europe, 1948-49, which included study at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. He worked as a seaman on a tanker, traveled to South America and was a clown diver in an aquacade in Florida before settling in New York in 1952.

He became a close friend of Mark Rothko, and in the 1960s assisted Rothko in the early stages of his mural project for the De Menil Chapel in Houston, Texas. After Rothko's death and during the legal problems with the estate, Scharf was appointed to serve as an officer of the newly created Rothko Foundation.

Scharf has been an instructor of art at various institutions including The Art Students League, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. He is a member of the Society of Illustrators and the Artists Equity Association.

EDUCATION
1944-49 The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — Philadelphia, PA
(1948 Cresson Scholar)
1949 The University of Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, PA
1948 The Academie de la Grand Chaumiere — Paris, France
1947 The Barnes Foundation — Merion, PA
1939-41 Samuel Fleisher Memorial School— Philadelphia, PA
(also known as Graphic Sketch Club)

TEACHING HISTORY
Instructor: Painting & Drawing
1987-Present Art Students League, New York, NY
1989, 74, 69, 66, 63 San Francisco Institute of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
1965-69 he School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
1964 Art Center of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Guest Lecturer
1979 Pratt Institute, New York, NY
1974 Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
1974 California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, CA  

Solo Exhibitions:
2005 Meredith Ward Fine Art, New York, NY
2004 Richard York Gallery, New York, NY
2002 P.S.1/MOMA, Queens, NY
2001 The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Malibu, CA
2000-2001 The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
1993 University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
1987 The Armstrong Gallery, New York, NY
1987 Saint Peter's Church, New York, NY
1987 Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY
1985 Saint Peter's Church, New York, NY
1984 Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
1982 Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
1979 Lerner-Heller Gallery, New York, NY
1978 High Museum, Atlanta, GA
1976 Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY
1969 San Francisco Art Institute, San Fran., CA
1964 Griffin Gallery, New York, NY
1963 Zabriskie Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1962 The American Gallery, New York, NY
1962 David Herbert Gallery, New York, NY
1960 David Herbert Gallery, New York, NY
1950 Dubin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2005 National Academy of Design, New York, NY
2005 Peter McPhee Fine Arts, Stone Harbor, NJ
2003 National Academy of Design, New York, NY
2002 Richard York Gallery, New York, NY
2000 Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY
2000 Emporia State University, Emporia, KS
1999 Denise Bibro Gallery, New York, NY
1998 Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
1998 Germillion Gallery, Houston, TX
1998 Art Students League, New York, NY
1996 Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY
1995-96Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
1994 David Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, NY
1993 Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
1992 Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY
1991-92Nat’l Museum of American Art (Smithsonian), Washington, DC
1991 Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY
1991 American Acad. & Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1989 American Acad. & Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1988 Nat’l Museum of American Art (Smithsonian), Washington, DC
1982 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1980 Hirschl-Adler Gallery, New York, NY
1980 Summit Art Center, Summit, NJ
1978 Smith-Anderson Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1978 E. P. Gurewitsch Gallery, New York, NY
1977 Summit Art Center, Summit, NJ
1976 Galerie Alexandra Monett, Brussels, Belgium
1976 Les Ateliers Du Grand Hornu Galerie D'Art, Brussels, Belgium
1974 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
1973 Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY
1970 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
1963 Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
1963 American Gallery, New York, NY
1963 Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT
1963 The New Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1962 American Gallery, New York, NY
1962 University of Illinois Annual, Urbana, IL
1962 The Vanderlip Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1959 Charleston Gallery of Art, Charleston, WV
1959 The National Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
1959 Reynolda House, Winston-Salem, NC
1958-59 American Fed. of Art, "New Talent", Travelling Exhibition
1957 Avant Garde Gallery, New York, NY
1958 MOMA, European Travelling Exhibitions, New York, NY
1958 The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
1958 The Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX
1957 Tanglewood Gallery, Stockbridge, MA
1956 Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY
1956 Am. Fed. of Art, "Museum Dir. Choice", Travelling Exhibition
1955 Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY
1949 Dubin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1947-48 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, Philadelphia, PA
1946 The Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
1946 The Philadelphia Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

Selected Collections:
Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Bradford Bank, Boston, MA
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Carnegie Corporation of New York, New York, NY
Catholic University, Washington, DC
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, NY
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Dennos Museum Center, NW Michigan College, MI
Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA
Frederick R. Weisman Museum, Malibu, CA
Fredonia College, Fredonia, NY
Hobart College, Geneva, NY
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY
J. Patrick Lannan Museum, Venice, CA
Mercer College, Mercer, PA
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
Montgomery Art Museum, Montgomery, AL
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, Roslyn, NY
National Academy of Design Museum, New York, NY
Nat’l Museum of American Art (Smithsonian), Washington, DC
Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Reynolda House, Winston-Salem, NC
Rockefeller University, New York, NY
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA
The High Museum, Atlanta, GA
The Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, CA
The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
UniDynamics Corporation, Stamford, CT
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Warburg, Pincus Co., Inc., New York, NY
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

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