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 William Saroyan  (1908 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: mod whimsy

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Ad Code: 3
William Saroyan
from Auction House Records.
Where I am, and Where I'm Going
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Fresno, CA on Aug. 31, 1908, the son of Armenian immigrants.  Saroyan gained fame as a writer of short stories and plays such as "The Time of Your Life."  He was also a visual artist of drawings and watercolors which he never sold nor exhibited.  His abstract work was influenced by Chinese brush drawing, Jackson Pollock, and the calligraphic work of Mark Tobey.  Saroyan died in Fresno of cancer on May 18, 1981.

In: Stanford University; SFMA; Boston University; Newark Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Fresno, California of Armenian parents, he drew upon his background for his abstract art.  He did works on paper, influenced by Chinese brush painting and the imagery of Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock.  He was primarily known as a writer, which won him a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award.

Biography from Hauk Fine Arts:
William Saroyan (1908-81) was a major American playwright (``The Time of Your Life,'' ``Hello Out There''), short story writer (``The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeeze'') and novelist (``The Human Comedy'') of the 20th Century, but he was also a painter.

Almost daily, according to his son Aram, author of ``Last Rites'' and ``William Saroyan,'' Saroyan would draw or paint.  This side of William Saroyan was explored in the Spring of 2002 when the Fresno Art Museum, in conjunction with the first annual William Saroyan Festival, presented the show ``Saroyan on Paper-Drawings, Watercolors and Words.'' Exhibition curator Jacquelin Pilar wrote that Saroyan's ``art worlds are indicative of Saroyan's own personal time and place in history reflecting the influence and prominence of America's unique contribution to the visual arts through the emergence of Action Painting during the 1940s.''  Saroyan's abstract work was influenced by Chinese brush painting, Jackson Pollock and the calligraphic work of Mark Tobey.

His work is held by Stanford University (the William Saroyan Collection), the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, Boston University and the Newark Museum of Fine Arts.

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