Theme/Style Modernism, Abstraction, murals, illustration, portraits
Artistic Focus Though not as well-known as some other progressive painters in Los Angeles in the ’20s and ’30s, Jack Wiboltt’s career as a modern artist was marked by a body of meaningful work that was well-regarded by critics of the time. His bold abstractions remain fresh and arresting today, and reveal him as a serious painter who sought to push boundaries and engage the viewer through form and color.
• Born Aage Christian Wiboltt in Middlefart, Denmark in 1894, “Jack” Wiboltt studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1913, and had his first solo show at the Dansk Kunsthandel (Danish Art Gallery) in 1917.
• Emigrating to the U.S. in 1919, Wiboltt lived in New York City before moving to California in 1924, settling in the Los Angeles area.
• Wiboltt did mural painting and also exhibited at the Pasadena Art Institute in 1932; and in Los Angeles he exhibited at the Warner Galleries and Stanley Rose Gallery in 1934.
• Wiboltt exhibited at the Hollywood Gallery of Modern Art in 1935, along with Ejnar Hansen, Lucien Labaudt, Grace Clements and Arthur Durston. Also in 1935, Wiboltt exhibited with Hansen, Tom Craig and Elmer Plummer at the Los Angeles County Fair, where both Wiboltt and Mabel Alvarez received Honorable Mentions for their oil paintings.
• Wiboltt enjoyed a camaraderie with other Danish artists working in Los Angeles, including Knud Merrild and Ejnar Hansen, and all three submitted drawings to the competition for the Beverly Hills post office murals in 1935. Though not selected, the drawings were favorably reviewed when displayed with all the submitted designs at the Friday Morning Club.
• In 1936, the first show of artwork by local members of the American Artists Congress was held at the Stanley Rose Galleries in Los Angeles. According to Los Angeles Times critic Arthur Millier, “mysterious abstractions” by Jack Wiboltt, Knud Merrild, and Grace Clements were included. Also exhibited were works by Edward Biberman, Fletcher Martin, Conrad Buff, and Palmer Schoppe.
• Wiboltt exhibited again with the American Artists Congress in Los Angeles in 1938, showing an abstract painting in the company of Fletcher Martin, Robert Gilbert, Edward Biberman, Arthur Durston, Grace Clements, Philip Paval and others.
• Wiboltt exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, and his work was included in the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, where he painted murals in the Danish Building.
• In 1948 Wiboltt exhibited an abstract painting in the Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity show at the Los Angeles County Museum.
• Jack Wiboltt passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 57 in 1952.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic
references are available upon request.
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