William Scharf 1927-2018 Night Move, 1964 Initialed lower left: "W.S." Titled, dated, and signed veros: "'NIGHT MOVE' 1964 / WILLIAM SCHARF" Oil on paper mounted to board 12 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

Primordial Language

Hollis Taggart Galleries
521 W 26th Street, 7th Floor
New York, New York

William Scharf’s visual language is steeped in myth and mystery, equal parts surrealist, biomorphic, and something wholly his own. His darkly atmospheric canvases reveal jewel-toned or bone white forms that seem to float in a primordial ether or emerge from prehistoric darkness. Like many of his friends and contemporaries in post-war New York, Scharf tapped into universal ideas of mythology and symbolism to access foundational principles of visual experience. His organic forms bring to mind the actions of creation, destruction, and propagation -- actions common to all living things throughout history and yet uniquely shaded in mystery and wonder.

Coming of age in the heyday of New York’s Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist movements, Scharf developed interests in the careful paint handling, rich color, and heady symbolic language that characterized much of the art of his time. A close friendship with Mark Rothko in particular solidified his interest in color and his philosophical approach to his work. Scharf’s style developed into something immediately recognizable, a unique combination of visual transcendence and quiet moments of beauty. Potent symbols -- the egg, the eye, the cross -- recur throughout his oeuvre, teaching viewers to see his paintings as part of a larger fabric of universal mythos, even as a conduit to an understanding of those omnipresent ideas.

This style crystallized early in Sharf’s career, as evidenced in a series of small canvases from the mid-1960s first shown at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. Works such as Hole Place and Lid’s Night distil the free-flowing brushwork of the New York School into discrete vignettes of glowing form, each emerging from the shadowed plane like a luminescent creature from the quiet depths. These forms coalesce into compositions that function like contained ecosystems, small aquarium glimpses into a larger, grander, and more wonderful world.

William Scharf lived and worked in New York from 1952 until his death in 2018. He relocated to the city from his native Pennsylvania at the recommendation of his friend and mentor N.C. Wyeth, who had encouraged his artistic pursuits since Scharf’s childhood. Studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation, and the Académie de la Grand Chaumière prepared him for a lifetime of painting in the nation’s artistic capital. He exhibited regularly over the intervening decades, most recently at MoMA PS1 in Queens, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

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Upcoming Events

Nam June Paik, “TV Clock,” 1963/1989.  Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on twenty-four pedestals.  SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B.  Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.
  • May 20 - October 14, 2018
  • Santa Barbara, California

Nam June Paik: TV Clock

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State Street
Santa Barbara, California

https://www.sbma.net/exhibitions/tvclock

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Scenes of Chinese figures in outdoor settings decorate this tureen and stand.  Gift of Leo A.  and Doris C.  Hodroff 2003.47.18a-c
  • May 20, 2018
  • Wilmington, Delaware

Winterthur 101 Lecture: "From Idea to Installation: Creating an Exhibition"

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, Delaware

http://www.winterthur.org/?p=950

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  • May 23, 2018
  • New York , New York
  • May 23, 2018
  • Winterthur, Delaware
  • May 23, 2018
  • Chicago, Illinois

Post War and Contemporary Art Auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago
1338 West Lake Street
Chicago, Illinois

www.lesliehindman.com

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  • May 24, 2018
  • Chicago, Illinois

American and European Art auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago
1338 West Lake Street
Chicago, Illinois

www.lesliehindman.com

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Jill Nathanson.  Cadence, 2017.  Acrylic and polymers with oil on panel.  55 x 72 inches
  • May 24 - June 30, 2018
  • New York, New York

Jill Nathanson: Cadence

Berry Campbell
530 West 24 Street
New York, New York

www.berrycampbell.com

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  • May 24, 2018
  • San Diego, California

Artist Talk: Gallery Selections 2018 Artists

Sparks Gallery

Sparks Gallery
530 Sixth Avenue
San Diego, California

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Face pot used as a cremation urn © Museum of London
  • May 25 - October 28, 2018
  • London, United Kingdom

Roman Dead

Museum of London Docklands
No.1 Warehouse
London, United Kingdom

https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london-docklands

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  • May 26-27, 2018
  • Barrington, Illinois

9th Annual Barrington Art Festival

Amdur Productions

Downtown Barrington
Cook and Station Streets
Barrington, Illinois

http://amdurproductions.com/

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  • May 30, 2018
  • Winterthur, Delaware

Featured Event

Ernest Briggs, Untitled, 1958, oil on canvas, 94" x 69.5"
Ernest Briggs | "Four Decades of Abstract Expressionism"
Anita Shapolsky Gallery
April 19 - June 15, 2018
New York, New York
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