ERLE LORAN (1905 - 1999) "Phantom Harbor 1950" Oil on canvas, 34" x 52"
Erle Loran Biography Born in Minneapolis in 1905, Loran attended the University of Minnesota and studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art under Cameron Booth. He was exposed early on to art masterpieces at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art center. In 1926 he was awarded the Chaloner Foundation Scholarship that provided support to study European art from 1926 to 1930. He used this opportunity to study and master the techniques and subject matter of Cezanne’s work in Provence, France. This included taking residence in Cezanne’s studio outside of Aix, France. The result of this work was the publication of Cezanne’s Composition in 1943 that won him international acclaim and has been re-published throughout the 20th century. Upon his return from Europe, Loran published an article on Cezanne and began teaching and working on WPA projects.
In 1937 Erle Loran accepted an invitation to teach at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) where he would remain until 1973. He would join Worth Ryder, John Haley and Margaret Peterson as some of the key figures to champion modern art techniques in California. Both Haley and Ryder along with Glenn Wessels had studied with Hans Hofmann in Europe during the 1920s. During Loran’s tenure at UC Berkeley he arranged for many noted artists to become visiting teachers such as John Grillo, David Hockney, and Wolf Kahn. Loran became Chair of the Art Department and well-known artists such as David Park, Joan Brown, Felix Ruvolo, and Peter Voulkos were hired as instructors. Some of Loran’s noted students included Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Ynez Johnston, Jay DeFeo, and Elmer Bischoff.
Despite his work as a teacher and administrator, Loran established a strong record of exhibitions for his work. Evolving from realist landscape work in the 1930s and 1940s, he embraced abstract expressionism around 1949 and 1950. During this time he also became the San Francisco correspondent for Art News magazine. Having already been exposed to the teachings of Hans Hofmann through Cameron Booth and Hofmann’s work at Berkeley in 1930 and 1931, he also studied directly with the master in the mid-1950s on the East Coast. Along with John Haley and Karl Kasten, Loran became recognized as a leader in the "Berkeley School" style of painting that was strongly influenced by the dynamic current of Hofmann’s teachings. The style evolved from the 1930s realist style to energetic colorful abstract canvases of the 1950s. Discussing his style, Loran told art historian Hershel Chipp that, "the subject matter itself may have no significance except that it inspired him to put together significant relationships of color and forms".
Erle Loran was pivotal in securing the support of Hans Hofmann for the building of the UC Berkeley Art Museum as well as Hofmann’s donation of 45 paintings to the University collection in 1960.Erle Loran passed away in Berkeley in 1999.
Select Museums Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. University of California, Berkeley, CA University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Select Exhibitions 1931 Kraushaar Gallery, New York, NY 1933 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY 1935 Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 1936 The Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA 1945 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA 1947 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA (solo) 1947 Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, CA (solo) 1948 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA 1949 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA 1949 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo) 1951 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA 1952 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA 1952 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA (solo) 1954 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo) 1955 IIIrd Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil 1955 Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University, CA 1958-1960 San Francisco Art Association Art Bank, San Francisco, CA 1960-1964 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
Select Literature 2005 Davenport, Ray. Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition 2002 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California: 1786-1940 1999 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975 1996 Landauer, Susan. San Francisco and The Second Wave, Crocker Art Museum 1989 Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940 1985 DuPont, Diana, K Holland. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Paintings and Sculpture Collection 1985 Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947 1985 Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980 / An Illustrated History 1984 Orr-Cahill, Christina. The Art of California Selected Works/ Oakland Museum 1976 San Francisco Museum Modern Art. Painting & Sculpture in California: The Modern Era
Sources Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Askart.com Loran, Erle, Cezanne’s Composition McNay, Michael, The Guardian, Gordon Onslow Ford, November 23, 2003 Plagens, Peter. Sunshine Muse: Art of the West Coast, 1945-1970 UC Berkeley, Robert Hartman, Karl Kasten, Peter Voulkos, Brian Wall
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