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Jacques Schnier
1898-1988

Theme/Style – Modernism, Art Deco, Abstraction

Media – Sculptures, watercolors, drawings

Artistic Focus – Having discovered Asian and Polynesian art before he received his artistic training, Jacques Schnier’s aesthetic assumptions were quite different than those of artists who studied art academically before coming upon primitivist sources of inspiration. His early sculptures showed an interest, not just in the Asian aesthetic, but also in those of Egypt and pre-Classic Greece; as a result, Schnier's work often reflected an amalgamation of historical references. Always, however, his sculptures emphasized form, and incorporated rhythmic design and a purity of line. After World War II, Schnier abandoned figural work for abstract geometries, and in the1960s, he began working in media such as fiberglass, polyester resin, Styrofoam, polyvinyl chloride and acrylic.

Career Highlights –

• First working as an engineer in Hawaii, Schnier returned to the mainland in 1923 to pursue a career in art.
• He studied for two years at the University of California, Berkeley, and then at the California School of Fine Arts, where he turned his focus to sculpture.
• Schnier became known as one of America's most creative Modernists, and one of the nation's finest direct carvers, whether working in wood or stone.
• He also taught art, first at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and then at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served on the faculty for 30 years.
• Schnier is the author of the 1948 book Sculpture in Modern America, one of the premier books on early-mid-century American sculpture.

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