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 William Pachner  (1915 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Florida / Europe      Known for: Abstraction, modernist views, narrative painting

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William Pachner
from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William Pachner (b. 1915)

An abstract artist and illustrator, Pachner's work is deeply shaped by the tragedy in his life and his humanity.  He lost 80 members of his family in the Holocaust and has consistently returned to motifs that reference the brutality of the Holocaust; in particular, the train became a symbol for the journey that led many Jews to their deaths

He is a native of Brtnice, Austro-Hungarian Empire, then Czechoslovakia from 1919 until 1992, which on January 1, 1993, peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

During the 1920’s, he didn't excel in academic subjects, but some of his teachers allowed him to pass because of his drawings.  However, professional artists advised his mother Anna Pachner that her son has no talent.  Nevertheless, he entered the Kunstgewerbeschule, a design school in Vienna, and studied fashion illustration.  He won first and second prizes for student fashion designs at the Wiener Festwochen.  Dissatisfied with the academic routine, he left design school and became an illustrator for Melantrich Publishing House in Prague.  In 1935, he became a staff artist for the Czechoslovak illustrated weekly, Ozveny.  In 1939, General Josef Bily, husband of Pachner’s editor at Ozveny, arranged a temporary visa for Pachner to visit America. Upon arrival in New York on March 9, he learned of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.  He went to Chicago and showed his work at Esquire magazine. Though initially rejected, he was then hired and became art director in 1940.  In the same year he married Lorraine Koolman, who also worked at Esquire Magazine.

He left Esquire in 1943 to enlist in the Army, but was rejected three times.  Determined to participate in the war effort, he created anti-fascist illustrations for magazines such as Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook.  In 1944, he  received a citation for Meritorious Service from the National War Fund and had his first solo exhibition at the Barry Stephens Gallery in New York.

He moved to Woodstock, New York in 1945, buying a house from Juliana Force, Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.  In 1951, Pachner began to live and work in Florida for part of the year.  This same year, he was appointed instructor of painting and drawing at the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center in Clearwater, and in 1956, the Center appointed him director of the art program.  The following year, he began teaching at the Tampa Art Institute and established the William Pachner School of Art in Clearwater.

Due to a childhood accident, Pachner's vision was impaired, and in 1981 he lost his vision fully.  Despite being blind, he continues working.

Selected Exhibitions and Awards:
1949  Citation and $1000 award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters for “masterful use of powerful design to express a deep emotional experience.”  Exhibited in the first two group shows at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington.  Paintings acquired by Milwaukee Art Institute; Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio; Ein-harod Museum, Israel.

1950  Exhibits in first of two group shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Exhibits by invitation in Best of Art- New Directions in Town Hall, New York City for two consecutive years.

1954  Has one-man exhibition at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

1957  Circulating exhibition, Four Florida Painters, sponsored by the American Federation of Arts.

1958  Receives $1000 Painting of the Year Award at the Atlanta Museum of Art.  Receives First Prize, Art Association of New Orleans, 57th Spring Annual at the Issac Delgado Museum.  Receives Purchase Prize, Sarasota Annual National Show.  Receives First Prize, Florida State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition.  Exhibits in Art: USA: 58 in New York. Receives Guggenheim Fellowship.

1959  First retrospective exhibition, awarded by the American Federation of Arts and funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.  (Terminal Number 1 is purchased by the Whitney Museum of American Art.)  First of several one-man exhibitions at the Krasner Gallery.  Exhibits in group shows at the University of Nebraska, University of Michigan, and the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts.  Receives one-man exhibition at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.

1965  Exhibits in Fine Arts Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.

1983  Has one-man exhibition, Pachner Landscapes, at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida

1987  Has retrospective exhibition, William Pachner Affirmations: 1936-1986, Tampa Museum of Art.  Solo exhibition, William Pachner: Affirmations Black and White, University of South Florida Galleries, Tampa.

1988  Solo exhibition at the Arts Center in St. Petersburg: a survey of B&W works in January.
 
1993 The Florida Landscape Revisited, five 19th Century and sixteen contemporary artists investigate the Florida environment as a cultural landscape: Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida.

1966  Has one-man exhibition at Tampa Art Institute.

1967  Exhibits in group show at the New York Cultural Center.

1996  Mackey Gallery at the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg exhibits work from permanent collection.

2000  William Pachner: Painting & Drawing; A Selection of Works from the 1960’s; paintings, pastels, and drawings, solo exhibition at the Brad Cooper Gallery in January. 16th Anniversary Group, at Brad Cooper Gallery.

2003  Modern Art in Florida, 1948-1970, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida.

2004  Solo exhibition at Brad Cooper Gallery, Selected Works 1960-1970.

2005  Solo exhibition, Imagined Landscapes, Florida Holocaust Museum, St Petersburg, Florida.

2012  Solo exhibition, Work from the 60’s, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida.

Sources include:
www.williampachner.com/
Tampa Museum of Art

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