Oil on canvas
34 Inches x 52 InchesFramed Size: 35 Inches x 53 Inches
Estate of Erle Loran
Carlson Gallery, Carmel, CA.
Private collection, Carmel, CA.
Literature: Lewis, David. "Erle Loran: A Modern Artist of the American West." Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas. Depicted page 51.
Erle Loran (1905-1999)
Erle Loran was a painter and teacher who became a critical bridge between European modernist art and some of the most important American 20th-century art traditions. Born in Minneapolis in 1905, Loran attended the University of Minnesota and studied at the Minneapolis Art School under Cameron Booth. He was exposed early on to art masterpieces at the Minneapolis of Art and the Walker Art Center and was especially drawn to a landscape by Paul Cezanne.
In 1926, he was awarded the Chaloner Foundation Scholarship to study European art from 1926 to 1930. He used this opportunity to master the techniques and the subject matter of Cezanne’s work in Provence. This included taking residence in Cezanne’s studio outside of Aix, France. The result of this work was the publication of Cezanne’s Composition in 1943 that won him international acclaim and has been re-published throughout the 20th century.
Upon his return from Europe, Loran published an article on Cezanne and began teaching and working on WPA projects. In 1937, he accepted an invitation to teach at the University of California at Berkeley, where he would remain until 1973. He would join Worth Ryder, John Haley, and Margaret Peterson as some key figures to champion modern art techniques in California. Both Haley and Ryder and Glenn Wessels studied with Hans Hofmann in Europe during the 1920s.
During Loran’s tenure at UC Berkeley, he arranged for many noted artists to become visiting teachers, such as John Grillo, David Hockney, and Wolf Kahn. Loran became Chair of the Art Department, and well-known artists such as David Park, Joan Brown, Felix Ruvolo, and Peter Voulkos were hired as instructors. Some of Loran’s noted students included Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Ynez Johnston, Jay DeFeo, and Elmer Bischoff.
Despite his work as a teacher and administrator, Erle Loran established a strong record of exhibitions for his work. Evolving from realist landscape work in the 1930s and 1940s, he embraced abstract expressionism around 1949 and 1950. During this time, he also became the San Francisco correspondent for Art News magazine. Having already been exposed to the teachings of Hans Hofmann through Cameron Booth and Hofmann’s work at Berkeley in 1930 and 1931, he also studied directly with the master during the mid-1950s on the East Coast.
Along with John Haley and Karl Kasten, Loran became recognized as a leader in the ‘Berkeley School’ style of painting that was strongly informed by the dynamic current of Hofmann’s teachings. The style evolved from the 1930s realist style to energetic, colorful abstract canvases of the 1950s. Discussing his style, Loran told art historian Hershel Chipp that “the subject matter itself may have no significance except that it inspired him to put together significant relationships of color and forms.”
Erle Loran was also pivotal in securing the support of Hans Hofmann for the building of the University Art Museum as well as Hofmann’s donation of 45 paintings to the University collection in 1960.
Erle Loran passed away in Berkeley in 1999.
Erle Loran Quote
The experience (UC Berkeley) proved important, introducing him to work of the “Berkeley School” modernists Worth Ryder, Margaret Peterson, and Erle Loran, who gave him his first substantial exposure to the ideas of Picasso and Cezanne. When Diebenkorn left Berkeley for Quantico, Virginia, via Parris Island, South Carolina, Loran’s book on the compositional principles of Cezanne was among the few items he carried in his duffel bag. Loran’s painstaking analysis of the formal structure of French abstraction would make a deep impression on him.
– Susan Landauer, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism, University of California Press
Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA
Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
University of California, Berkeley, CA
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
1931 Kraushaar Gallery, NYC
1933 The Museum of Modern Art, NY
1935 Rockefeller Center, NY
1936 The Oakland Art Gallery, CA
1945 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
1947 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA (solo)
1947 Pasadena Art Institute, CA (solo)
1948 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1949 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1949 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1951 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1952 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1952 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1954 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1955 IIIrd Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil
1955 Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University, CA
1958-1960 San Francisco Art Association Art Bank, CA
1960-1964 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1960-1964 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
2005 Davenport, Ray. Davenport’s Art Reference: The Gold Edition
2002 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California: 1786-1940
1999 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975
1996 Landauer, Susan. San Francisco and The Second Wave, Crocker Art Museum
1989 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940
1985 DuPont, Diana, K Holland. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Paintings and Sculpture Collection
1985 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947
1985 Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980 / An Illustrated History
1984 Orr-Cahill, Christina. The Art of California Selected Works/ Oakland Museum
1976 San Francisco Museum Modern Art. Painting & Sculpture in California: The Modern Era
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Loran, Erle, Cezanne’s Composition
McNay, Michael, The Guardian, Gordon Onslow Ford, November 23, 2003
Plagens, Peter. Sunshine Muse: Art of the West Coast, 1945-1970
UC Berkeley, Robert Hartman, Karl Kasten, Peter Voulkos, Brian Wall
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