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 Josef Zenk  (1904 - 2000)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: landscapes, portraits, abstraction, block prints

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Joseph Zenk
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Joseph Zenk's artistic career spanned more than forty years of experimentation and development. Encompassing the progressive currents of early 20th-century modernism, his work evolved from a style of expressive representation to one of dramatic abstraction.

Joseph Zenk was born in New York City in 1904. After graduating from high school, he attended the National Academy of Design for three years, and then continued his studies at the Art Students League of New York. In 1926, while on a sketching trip through New England and the Mohawk Valley, Zenk decided to settle in Utica, New York. A productive period followed, yielding numerous landscapes, figurative works, and still-lifes. Zenk was active in a small community of Utica artists who organized exhibitions in 1927-28 of some of the leading American painters of the period, including Hopper, Sheeler and Fiene. In 1930 he was given a full scholarship to study at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica. A one-man show of his paintings at the Institute gallery in 1937 drew the greatest attendance of any exhibition that year. In 1942 'Zuni' by Zenk became the first work purchased by the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute for its Central New York Artists Collection.

After service in the Armed Forced from 1942-45, Zenk left Utica and moved his studio to the New Jersey Palisades. Under the G.I. Bill he began studies at the New School in New York City. With a small group of printmakers including Louis Schanker, a prominent woodcut artist and teacher at the New School, Zenk formed Studio 74 for the purpose of exhibiting their color wood block prints. The group received immediate critical attention: The New York Times described Zenk's work as "particularly admirable." His woodcut 'The Kiss' was chosen as one of the best prints of 1949 and was exhibited in the National Exhibition of Prints held at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.Joseph. Zenk's works have been shown in over twenty-seven museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of American Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the National Academy of Design.

Source: Keith Sheridan Inc.


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