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 Alexander Waselkov  (1913 - 1983)

About: Alexander Waselkov


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Lived/Active: Ohio/Colorado/Florida      Known for: portrait, nature, figurative sculpture

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BIOGRAPHY for Alexander Waselkov
1913 (Denver, Colorado)
1983 (Fort Myers, Florida)


Photo submitted by Gary Waselkov

Often Known For
portrait, nature, figurative sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Alexander Waselkov was born in Denver, Colorado December 5, 1913. The son of recent immigrants from the Saratov region of Russia, Alexander was the youngest with two brothers and two sisters. An outstanding sprinter, he graduated from Lafayette High in 1932. He worked with his father and brothers in the coal mines of Colorado. In 1935, he developed juvenile diabetes.

Pursuing his dream of becoming an artist, Alexander was accepted at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. where he excelled in both realistic figure and portrait drawing and oil painting from 1936-1939. At the Corcoran he studied under Eugene Weisz, Richard Leahy and Kenneth Stubbs. He assisted Ward Lockwood on frescoes in the Washington D.C. Post Office Department Building.

Working his way through school, in 1942 he received a B.A. degree from George Washington University. From 1943-1944 he earned his M.A. degree from Ohio University exhibiting exceptional talent studying wood sculpture with John Rood. Both GWU and Ohio University have portraits of his in their permanent collections.

He attended additional courses at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana and at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His renaissance- like attitude towards art, knowledge and learning and passion for living can best be expressed by a favorite saying of his.. "The awakening of the mind -- the enrichment of the soul -- the fulfillment of sleeping desires..."

Residing in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio from 1944 to 1974, he developed a palette knife technique in his oil landscapes. He taught art in Euclid, Ohio during this period, and figurative subjects often typified his sculpture during this time. He was an avid photographer who shot, developed and printed his work professionally as well as for his own enjoyment. Beginning in 1948 he received a good deal of satisfaction in designing, building and living in a beautiful and unique home and studio rich in a variety of natural woods which reflected his individuality and flair.

In 1952, Alexander married Elizabeth James, a devoted and enthusiastic librarian. A good husband and father, Al with Betty had two sons, Greg and Gary. Greg became a diligent and respected archaeologist, and Gary became a notable artist who studied and worked with his father. Earning a living as an artist, teacher, lecturer and photographer, Alexander often enjoyed traveling and camping with his family in the summer on lengthy tours and adventures through the 48 states, Canada, Mexico or Europe.

Versatile and passionate in his work, he focused on mastering a broad spectrum of media, and his paintings ranged from oil to acrylic and watercolor. In drawing he specialized in pen and ink, pencil, charcoal, pastel and scratch board. He produced sculpture by working in wood, marble, stone, copper, ceramic and bronze. Alex's talents included slide and print photography, the creation of original jewelry and original furniture design.

Communication, emotion and skill are important elements of his work. His work was "based upon a close study of nature and knowledge of art. Whenever distortion or abstraction is used, it is based upon a need to make a more meaningful statement or a more aesthetic design quality. This brings about in some degree a symbolic representation that carries a deeper significance".

He worked out of his semi-tropical Fort Myers, Florida studio. From 1974 to 1983 he spent a great deal of time creating wood sculpture, a medium he greatly enjoyed. The theme of his work broadened to include the environment, science, ecology and the struggle of mankind. In 1979 he created the major sculpture "Indomitable Man" which he stated "suggests a universal theme of mankind's ability to conquer past, present and future problems and to open new frontiers. The lone, calm confident figure going over the rapids conveys this idea and implies a hope that smoother sailing will follow."

The artist exhibited extensively including three times at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Quoting Faulkner and Bennett - art critics of the Fort Myers News-Press - " Waselkov is at his best in the fine 'Tumbling Bears' of translucent Italian clear alabaster. The stone is exquisite and when the sculptor adds the forms of the wild bodies and textures of the bear's hides, the piece becomes an impressive work. The fine quality of the work and handsome display make this an exhibit to remember...... Like Rodin, Waselkov models his work from the inside out.....I must say one of the highlights of the show is the beautiful wood sculpture of Alexander Waselkov. In pieces like 'Continuity' and 'Vortex' this artist shows himself to be an asset to the artistic community".

Alexander's career was cut short suddenly in 1983 in Fort Myers, Florida brought on by the effects of 48 years of diabetes.

Literature References:
"The George Washington Alumni Review", May 1959
"The Ohio Alumnus", October 1945

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