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 Max R. Scharf  (1933 - )

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Lived/Active: Missouri      Known for: landscape, illustrator

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Max R Scharf
An example of work by Max R. Scharf
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist:

Max R. Scharf

Born 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri USA
Primary Residence of Studio is St. Louis, Missouri USA
Often known for Landscape
Style of work is Impressionist & Expressionist
Paints in Acrylic on Canvas

BIOGRAPHY

Max R. Scharf was born in 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri where he currently resides with his wife, Esther.

He began drawing in grammar school (1939-1947). When he was about to graduate, the school counselor asked him what career he wanted to follow. He replied, "I want to be either a baseball player or an artist". While attending high school (1947-1951) Scharf concentrated on art more than any other subject, so much so that he found it easier to do art projects for the teachers than concentrating on the regular curriculum.

Upon graduation from high school (1957), Scharf entered Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis, MO. He always felt his strength in art was in the use of color and composition, and his weakness was in figure drawing. Of all the professors he studied under Charles Quest (1904-1993) taught him the most, especially on how to understand and draw the human figure.

Scharf felt the most comfortable in Quests classes and developed a rapport with his teacher. One day in class Max was exceptionally proud of a drawing he just finished of a nude and called out, "professor, professor, come see my drawing". Quest reviewed the drawing and said to Max, "Max, maybe, just maybe in 30 or 40 years you might make it". Quest knew this would get
Maxs juices up and spur him on. Scharf wishes his professor was alive today to show him his progress.

Just before completing his second year (1953) at the university Scharf received notice that he was to be drafted into the U.S. Army. He served approximately two years in the Army. He was sent to Engineering Drafting School at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C. When he could get time off he would visit the National Art Museum in D.C. , he would spend hours looking at the art with great admiration for the masters. He would wonder if he would ever acquire their skills and succeed as a fine artist.

When he completed the drafting course at Ft. Belvoir, he was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri where he ended up in a field printing plant working as a plate maker and an army artist. At the plant he learned the technical part of drawing for color reproduction, and even today he attributes the knowledge learned as helping him in his career.

After the Army (1955) Scharf returned to Washington University Art School for another semester. He became restless, feeling out of place in school, and decided to "go west" and make it as an artist. In 1956 he arrived in Los Angeles, California with his art portfolio to look for a job. After six weeks he still did not have a job as an artist, and his money was about gone. At the point of being on catsup and hot water he got a job as a technical illustrator in the Aircraft Industry. After awhile he joined Ramo Woldridge Company (the company that became TRW) as an artist to prepare charts and graphs that were sent to the government and the President of the United States. Scharf became restless again and returned to St. Louis.

In 1958 Scharf went to work for a manufacturer in St. Louis as its art director. In 1963 he started his own company, with little money, to sell sales promotional programs to corporations. His success came because of his ability to sketch, on the spot, creative ideas and designs for his clients. In 1969 he "backed into" the printed T-shirt business and with the help of his wife Esther, whom he married in 1964, built a successful business employing 350 people including 17 artists. During these years (1969-1990) Scharf continued to paint when he could, usually on Sundays.

In the late 1970s Scharf had his first opportunity to visit Europe. This proved to be the turning point towards his art future. He had the opportunity to attend a conference in Amsterdam, and his first stop was the Van Gogh Museum. He was overwhelmed. He got so excited about seeing the actual works of Van Gogh. When he got up very close to the paintings to observe the brush strokes, the guards came running over, thinking he was going to do something to the paintings. It took awhile for him to explain that he was an artist and was studying the brush strokes. Since that time Scharf has visited Europe over twenty times. His favorite places to visit are Paris, Giverny and the Musee dOrsay.

Every time he visits the Musee dOrsay in Paris, he has an emotional and spiritual experience. He gets so emotional and flushed when he views the masters, that he has to leave the rooms to regroup and then come back in. Scharf is in awe of the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and the earlier works of Andre Derain. Max feels he has a special relationship with Van Gogh. On his first trip to Paris (late 70s) he and his wife checked in at the Ritz Hotel. When arriving at their room Max went out on the balcony. Suddenly he became flushed, as he viewed the Van Gogh like trees in the garden. He called his wife to the balcony and said "Ive been here before; I feel it even though this is our first trip here." He still tingles every time he remembers that experience.

Scharf has visited Vincents grave-site twice to pay homage to him and to thank him for his art. In 1991 Scharfs corporate business was closed and he opened up his artist studio and started painting full time. The majority of his paintings have been produced since that time. He is a dedicated and disciplined painter. When painting he works from six to ten hours a day. Depending on the scene, size and detail it takes him from two to four weeks to complete a painting. He is completely exhausted when he finishes. He says that part of himself transfers to the painting when he is done.

Scharf paints from photographs that he has taken over the last 25 years. He says he has enough photographs to paint through the year 3000. He has painted scenes of Europe, the Far East and the United States. His favorite scenes to paint are United States National Parks and France. He just completed the Giverny Trilogy, three paintings of Monets gardens, paying homage to Monet. To date (2002) Scharf has completed 24 paintings of Giverny.

PERIODICALS
The Counselor Magazine
Oct. 1990
"The Business Mind of An Artists Soul"
Flowers, Roberta J.

St. Louis Magazine
November 1992
"Vivid Impressions"
Kepp, Barry

Décor Magazine
March 2001
"Taste the Sales"
David ONeil

SPECIAL AWARDS AND SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
Winner, St. Louis Art Museum competition for 1992 museum holiday card. Awarded by the St. Louis Art Museum.

Selection as one of twenty-four artists to create a painting for the 1994 United States Olympic Friendship Games.

Election as a signature member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society in 1994 and was elected to its board of directors in the same year.

Solo exhibition 1993, sponsored by the United States Department of Interior National Park Service "Impressions of National Parks", held in the rotunda of the historic Old Courthouse in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO USA.

Signature members Asia Tour 1997, National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society, in Bangkok, Manila, Taipei and Hong Kong.

Solo exhibition 1999, Lindenwood University, St. Louis, MO.

Solo exhibition 2000, William Woods University, Fulton, MO; major exhibition of forty originals of both impressionist and abstract works.

COLLECTIONS

Scharfs originals and limited edition prints are in private and corporate collections in over fifteen countries.





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