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Hans Burkhardt at Paul Mahder Gallery

3378 Sacramento Street, San Francisco / Open Monday-Saturday 10-6 Sunday 1-5

Hans Burkhardt occupies a unique position at an important crossroads in American art history. His retrospective “Expressionism in the 1960s” curated by Peter Selz and Paul Mahder, offers a rare chance to see a large body of Burkhardt’s work in one location, the first since his 1961-62 retrospective at the Legion of Honor.

Having shared a studio with Arshile Gorky in the 1930s, Burkhardt was well acquainted with the prevailing currents of the New York School, where surrealism and cubism were being reassessed and the roots of abstract expressionism were beginning to take hold. When he moved to Los Angeles in 1937, Burkhardt brought with him the sum total of his New York experience, and introduced a cutting-edge vitality to what was then a comparatively quiet artistic culture. Working independently, he explored and developed his style free from the influence of a local art scene.

Hans Burkhardt at Paul Mahder Gallery

“Bikini” – 1954

In the coming years when trends would coalesce into east coast abstraction and west coast figuration, Burkhardt would continue to plot his own course. While his works span most of the spectrum between abstract and figurative, all are driven by an underlying narrative.  Some are straightforward, such as his 1954 “Bikini,” in reference to nuclear testing, while others are more elusive; “Wandering Souls” deserves patient explorative consideration. The exhibit brings together paintings and drawings made during the 1960s, and represents a fascinating window into the issues of that decade and a well-rounded assessment of a great American artist.

Expressionism in the 1960s will be on exhibit at Paul Mahder Gallery through November 10th.

Neighboring Exhibit:

Urbane - San Francisco Women Artists Gallery

When you visit Paul Mahder, take a walk up the street to the San Francisco Women Artists gallery as well. “Urbane,” a mixed media group show features works from dozens of local women artists, and will run through October 5th. As always, a lot of great stuff well worth a visit.

San Francisco Women Artists Gallery

3489 Sacramento Street, San Francisco