Karl Kasten Abstract Painting "Church"
Karl Kasten Abstract Painting "Church"
PUR price available upon request
26.75”w 31”ht 2”dp; image: 26”w 30’h
Period abstract oil on canvas by Karl Kasten (1916-2010).
Classic abstract expressionism calls to mind the slash and burn of DeKooning and Kline along with Hans Hoffman’s influence on Bay Area painting.
Artist signed and titled, "Church," on back.
California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute); College of Marin; University of California at Berkeley, B.A.1938; M.A.1939; studied modern etching techniques and printmaking with Lasansky at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1949; Attended the first school for abstract painting with Hans Hofmann at Cape Cod, Provincetown.1951 ; Early mentors and peers: the "Berkeley School:” John Haley, Erle Loran, Margaret Peterson and Worth Ryder.
California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1941; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1946-1947; San Francisco State College, 1947-1950; University of California, Berkeley, 1950-1983; Professor Emeritus.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1955; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1959; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France, 1959; San Francisco Museum of Art, 1962; Richmond Art Center, California, 1968; E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, 1969; M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1975; Galerita, Milan, 1981; Ebert Gallery, San Francisco, 1995;; Galerie Sho, Tokyo, 2002; Robert Green Fine Art, Mill Valley, 2003.
Selected Group Exhibitions
Art Institute of Chicago, 1946; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1950, 1952; San Francisco Museum of Art, 1951; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1952; Northwestern Printmakers, 1955, California Painters: 40 Painters, Municipal Art Center, Long Beach, 1956; Library of Congress Print Annual, Washington D.C., 1956; University of Illinois, 1956; Denver Art Museum, 1958; Chicago Art Institute, 1960; University of California, Los Angeles, 1964; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1967; University of Illinois, 1969; International Print Exhibition, Grafica Uno, Taiwan, 1980; Il Bienal del Gradado de America, Venezuala, 1982; US-UK Print Connection, Concourse Gallery, London, 1989; Peintures et Graphics, Institut Franco-Americain, Rennes, France, 1995; 2005; Berkeley Treasures Exhibition, Berkeley Art Center, 2006.
Under the influence of the Berkeley School, Kasten painted landscapes of flat planes punctuated with color, winning prizes in annual painting competitions held at the San Francisco Museum of Art as well as the prestigious Phelan Art Scholarship.
A brief stint teaching at the California School of Fine Arts ended with his enlistment in the army after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
There, like Franz Kline and other members of the heroic abstract expressionist period, Kasten was assigned the task of producing camouflage. Also, like so many other great artist of his time, Kasten utilized the GI Bill to further his study and practice of art.
Returning from the war, Kasten first taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Kasten found early inspiration in Gaugin’s idiosyncratic treatment of line and color mass. Also engaging was the legendary exploration of spatial planes in Cezanne so famously unpacked by his longtime Cal associate Erle Loran. In the early '50s Kasten experimented with various forms of Cubism and non-objective painting.
Kasten soon left his job in Ann Arbor to take advantage of the GI Bill as did so many of the great artists of the fifties. He spent the next couple of years focusing on art production and informal exploration and learning .
This period was soon followed by a summer in Provincetown, where Kasten focused on painting, and developing his own theories at Hans Hoffman’s famous groundbreaking school for abstract paintinb. There Kasten turned toward a more expressive use of abstaction. As he put it, “Space is unique to painting. A blank canvas represents infinity and space, but it’s also flat.” Kasten was very much unfluenced by Hofmann’s idea of the push and pull of color -the ability to animate the picture plane with the juxtaposition and layering of colors that advance and recede.
After studying at the Hans Hofmann School in Provincetown, Mass in '51, he turned to Abstract Expressionism. Hofmann's modern art philosophy stressed "pictorial structure, spatial illusion, and color relationships."
In her biography of the San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism Susan Landauer describes Kasten as the artist who most effectively applied Hoffman’s ideas.
Kasten, by this time, had returned to the Bay Area where he again took an assistant professor of art position at the San Francisco State University. He spent three years at SFU where he introduced a printmaking program. The following year accepted a professorship at his alma mater, UC Berkeley.
In addition to his wide record of painting exhibitions, Karl Kasten is known worldwide as a master printer. In 1950, he established the Printmaking program and a course in Materials and Techniques at UC Berkeley. Kasten's aim and underlying credo with the courses was that printmaking could equal traditional painting through creative exploration.
Kasten deployed printmaking techniques learned from his tenure at Iowa-in particular Lasansky’s “intaglio technique” of cutting or etching deeper into the print plate, yielding greater print complexity. Kasten passed on his printer skills setting up printmaking departments at both San Francisco State and Berkeley.
David Acton called Kasten "the dean of Bay Area printmaking.”
Although Kasten has always considered himself a painter, he is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in printmaking.
In 1960 Kasten met Willem de Kooning at an art gathering. Kasten invited de Kooning to the Berkeley campus where he pulled his first and now legendary lithographs with the aid of Nathan Olveira. Kasten has since lectured widely on the unique tools, technique and genius which de Kooning employed in the two lithographs.
Kasten found himself heavily influenced by Willem Dekooning and, pursuing his own brand of abstract expressionism, helped establish the second wave of the Berkeley School pushing the west coast onto the artistic map.
By the end of the sixties Kasten had drifted away form abstract expressionism toward hard edge composition.
Kasten spent 33 years at Berkeley teaching and serving as assistant dean and vice-chairman of the art department.
In the 1970s, he designed a lightweight press (The KB Press) in conjunction with the Berglin Corporation that can now be found in schools and studios around the world.
PUR (Price available upon request)