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 William Zacha  (1920 - 1998)

About: William Zacha


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: sculpture, abstract-oriental mofif

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BIOGRAPHY for William Zacha


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sculpture, abstract-oriental mofif

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William (Bill) Zacha (1920-1998)

An artist and founder of the Mendocino Art Center, Zacha's media included cast bronze sculpture, watercolor and serigraphy.

After his studies at Washington University and Studio Hinna in Rome, Italy, he returned to San Francisco and settled on Mount Tamalpais while completing his graduate degree at San Francisco State, after which he developed and taught an arts and crafts program for the United States Army at the Presidio of San Francisco.

In 1957, Zacha and his wife Jenny first saw Mendocino.  He fell in love with the town and moved his family to Mendocino where he renovated their large tumbledown white Victorian house, found a job teaching art at Mendocino High School and in 1958 opened Zacha's Bay Window Gallery.

In 1959 he founded the Mendocino Art Center.  Now fifty years after its founding, the Mendocino Art Center has grown from its original single room to a large complex with beautiful grounds, art galleries, studios for textiles, jewelry, ceramics, painting, drawing, serigraphy and sculpture, apartments for artists and its own performing arts center, the Helen Schoeni Theatre.  The Center has an international reputation and draws the best teachers of crafts and fine arts, including annual artists-in-residence.

Between 1964 and 1985, inspired by Ando Hiroshige's work,  Bill made seventeen visits to Japan, researching and preparing Tokaido Journey, a series of fifty-five serigraphs, each presenting a contemporary view of one of the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road, adding Nihonbashi Bridge in Tokyo at the beginning and the Sanjobashi Bridge in Kyoto at the end of his journey.

In 1976, he took his family to Italy for a year, his first extended time there since his graduate studies in Rome decades before.  In Italy Zacha studied sculpture; he explored the streets and alleys carrying his portable easel, often stopping to sketch and paint.

Upon his return  from Italy he began the final printing of the Tokaido Journey serigraphs and in 1985, Tokaido Journey debuted to great acclaim at Kabutoya Gallery on the Ginza in Tokyo.

From 1985 until 1998, Bill turned again to sculpture, especially bronze figures. In the early 1990s, he returned to Italy where he stayed for two years in Scario, a quiet town south of the Amalfi Coast.

William Zacha died in 1998.


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:
William Zacha studied at UC Berkeley, served in the Navy during WWII, and then continued his education at George Washington University.  Since 1957 he has lived in Mendocino, California.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
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.

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