Erle Loran

Theme/Style – Berkeley School, Modernism, American Scene, Abstraction, figurative art, landscapes

Media – Oils, watercolors, gouaches

Artistic Focus – An artist whose work evolved along with American art, Erle Loran’s subject matter changed over time, from representational to conceptual. His painting style changed, too, as one style fell from prominence and another gained strength. Among the trademarks of Loran’s work are his rich, luminous organization of color, a varied palette, skillfully subtle color application, and meticulous arrangement. He was considered a master of the relationship between line and form, creating textural and linear relationships independent of the scenes in which they appeared.

Career Highlights –

• Born in Minneapolis, Erle Loran spent four years on scholarship in Europe, living in the Aix-en-Provence studio of Paul Cezanne and touring the continent to study and work.
• Loran came to California in 1936 to paint and teach at the University of California, Berkeley, and helped establish the “Berkeley School” style of watercolor painting - a manifestation of American Regionalism with a Modernist tendency toward abstraction.
• By 1952, Loran was considered a fully committed Abstract Expressionist.
• As an academician, Erle Loran wrote Cezanne’s Composition. First published in 1943, it is considered the most thorough study of the formal aspects of the famed artist’s work.