Hans Burkhardt

Theme/Style – Cubism, figurative art, still lifes, assemblage, Abstraction

Media – Oils, pastels, linocuts

Artistic Focus – Hans Burkhardt’s artwork went through several important changes – from early pastel nudes, to Arshile Gorky’s influence, and finally to his collage-style skull paintings of the 1980s. He carried Modernism to a new level through the means of fragmentation and extreme depth of composition, creating works which made statements about modern society and politics, particularly to express his antiwar beliefs.

Career Highlights –

• Born in Basel, Switzerland, Hans Burkhardt arrived in New York City in 1924. There he became a student of Arshile Gorky at the Grand Central School of Arts, and was involved with a group of European émigrés who espoused Abstract Expressionism.
• Relocating to Los Angeles in 1937, Burkhardt became a vital link between the avant-garde movements on both coasts, though he never returned permanently to New York. In 1939 Burkhardt held his first one-man show at the Stendhal Galleries in Los Angeles.
• In 1957 a 10-year retrospective took place at the Pasadena Art Museum, and three years later Burkhardt began a long teaching career – first at the University of Southern California, then at the University of California, Los Angeles, and finally at California State University, Northridge from 1963 until his retirement.
• In 1991 the City of Los Angeles honored him by proclaiming Hans Burkhardt Week, and he continued to live and work in Los Angeles until his demise in 1994.