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 John William Joseph Winkler  (1890 - 1979)



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Lived/Active: California      Known for: etcher, historical figure and architecture painting

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Ad Code: 3
John William Joseph Winkler
San Francisco Scened, 1920, 7" x 9 1/2" etching
Photo provided by William Lord
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Patricia Ann Rangel, Grapevine, Texas, collector of Winkler art since 1976.

John William Joseph Winkler was born in Vienna, Austria on July 30, 1890. (The birth date of 1894 is also given by some sources). He was the son of a well-placed military family, conventional and strict. In effect, he escaped to the Wild West through a gift of money from his grandmother; and he never turned back. He crossed the country, husking corn in Nebraska, mining copper in Utah, living awhile in Los Angeles and moving finally to San Francisco, which was rebuilding from the earthquake of 1906.

He entered the Mark Hopkins Institute (later the San Francisco Institute of
Art) in 1911. Winkler has exhibited on both the East and West coasts and is most noted for his etchings of San Francisco hills, wharves and Chinatown as well as of the
East Bay.

For eight years (1922-1930) he worked and exhibited in Europe. These exhibits included etchings of London and France, pencil drawings of French cathedrals and pen and ink drawings of French people and of the French countryside.

Winkler returned to the United States (1932) and completed the plate and edition for the George Washington Bicentennial which included 75 drawings of historic figures.

He completed a set of conte crayon drawings of trees and mountains and collected California Sierra woods, and made carved and decorated boxes (collection called "Sierra Nevadiana") and he made gold jewelry boxes by the "lost wax" process. He also completed a set of Christmas etchings and a set of miniature farm scenes.

Winkler drew many of the early plates directly on the copper plate at the scene. He used nitric acid exclusively for his etch, pouring it on the plate and moving it around for varying line depth and intensity (mixture one part nitric acid, two parts water). There is no aquatint or ink left on the surface in printing - they are pure line etchings. His editions were small and he used rag paper to achieve permanence.

The artist produced over 300 etching plates during his lifetime, hundreds of drawings, jewelry pieces and 200 hand carved and decorated wood boxes (no screws for hinges!!). In 1976 over 40 never published plates were finished and small editions printed.

He died in El Cerrito, California on January 26, 1979.

Honors - Awards
Elected N.A., National Academy of Design
Honorary Member, California Society of Printmakers
Life Member, San Francisco Art Association
Member, Society of American Graphics Artists
Three times Logan Prize Winner

One-Man Shows
Arnheim Kunstzall, The Netherlands
Boston Museum
Chicago Art Institute
deYoung Museum, San Francisco
Fine Arts Society, London
Galeria Guiot, Paris
Keppels, New York
New York Public Library
Press Center, Seoul, Korea
San Francisco Museum of Art
Triton Museum, Santa Clara
Marci Thomas Gallery, 1971, 1974
Richmond Art Center, 1973, 1974
Van Straaten Gallery, Chicago, 1972
Walton Gallery, San Francisco, 1974
June I Gallery, Washington, 1975
Bank of America Gallery, San Francisco, 1976
Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1973
The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1979

Group Shows
National Academy of Design, New York
Oklahoma Print and Drawing Invitational
Philadelphia Print Club
San Francisco Art Association
Sao Paulo Biennial
Society of American Graphics Artists
United States Cultural Exchange - Prints for France
Wiggin Tour of Museums of Israel

Collections (most in archives and not on view, needs to be confirmed still holding as of 2003)
Achenbach Foundation, San Francisco
Cleveland Museum
National Collection of Fine Arts
Art Institute of Chicago
Bibiotheque Nationale, Paris
Boston Public Library
Library of Congress
Luxembourg, Paris
Metropolitan Museum, New York
National Museum, Israel
New York Public Library
Oakland Art Museum
San Francisco Museum of Art
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Zora Museum, Sweden
Smithsonian Institution
San Francisco Public Library

American College Society of Print Collectors
Brooklyn Society of Etchers (S.A.G.A.)
Chicago Society of Etchers
Gazette de Beaux Art
George Washington Bicentennial, 1932
San Francisco Art Commission, 1972

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Vienna, Austria on July 30, 1890. Winkler immigrated to the U.S. in 1907 and worked as a ranch hand in Nebraska and gold miner in Colorado. He came to San Francisco in 1910 and studied at the CSFA under Stanton and Van Sloun. His etchings date back to 1912 and many of them are nostalgic scenes of San Francisco's early period such as Telegraph Hill when it was still a grazing pasture or old Chinatown. While in Europe in 1922 he did a series of etchings which received rave reviews from the local press. An Old-World style permeates his etchings which have been favorably compared to those by Whistler. Winkler died in El Cerrito, CA on Jan. 26, 1979. Member: NA (1940); Calif. Society of Min. Painters; Chicago Society of Etchers; American Society of Etchers; Société des Graveurs en Noir (Paris). Exh: SFAA, 1916; AIC, 1918 (prize); Calif. Society of Etchers, 1919; Concord AA, 1920; Foundation of Western Art (LA), 1933. Solos: LACMA, 1920; Minneapolis, 1921; New York, 1923; Paris, 1924; Cannell & Chaffin Gallery (LA), 1924; CSL, 1940, 1952; De Young Museum, 1951; SF Public Library, 1955; Triton Museum (Santa Clara), 1971; CPLH, 1974; Brooklyn Museum 1979. In: NY Public Library; Library of Congress; MM; Musee du Luxembourg (Paris); Society of Calif. Pioneers; Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris); Boston Public LIbrary; CSL; Smithsonian Inst.; Oakland Museum; AIC; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); CPLH; Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; American Art Annual 1917-31; Who's Who in American Art 1936-62.
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.

Biography from Annex Galleries:
John W. Winker (1894-1979), painter, printmaker, draftsman and craftsman, was born in Vienna, Austria around 1894.  The inexactness of his birth year is attributed to his own confusion, the alteration of his name and the use of a forged passport to enter the U.S.  Winkler once wrote that he was born in 1894 and arrived in New York at the age of 16-1/2 years of age.  This would coincide with his arrival in San Francisco in 1911.

He enrolled in the Mark Hopkins Art Institute and began etching in 1912.  San Francisco's Chinatown and Telegraph Hill provided him with fascinating subjects for his etchings and, while on location, he drew directly on prepared plates.

Departing for Europe in 1922, Winkler worked and roamed the countryside from England to France; it would be eight years before he returned to California.

He was a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers, the Society of American Graphic Artists, the San Francisco Art Association, and an honorary member of the Printmakers Society of California.  Winkler was elected an Associate in the National Academy of Design in 1936 and to full Academician in 1951.

One of the highest tributes he received was from his friend, John Taylor Arms, who proclaimed Winkler to be the "master of line," the "master of us all."  In 1955, there was an exhibition of his etchings in Holland, and he had a solo exhibition in 1974 at the Achenbach Foundation.

Winkler is represented in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress, the Boston Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum, the New York Public Library, the Oakland Museum, the San Francisco Public Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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