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Paul John Wonner

 (1920 - 2008)
Paul John Wonner was active/lived in California, Arizona.  Paul Wonner is known for hyper-real still life and figure-view paintings.

Paul John Wonner

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Paul John Wonner
Paul Wonner is best known for his Abstract Expressionist still life paintings.  Much of his work focuses on small objects, jars, pitchers, fruit, etc. or on specific figures that dominate the space.  He was interested in art as a youth and his parents hired a tutor to help him with his drawing during high school.

Wonner was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1920, and after his early art education set out for California in 1937. He settled in Oakland where he attended the California College of Arts and Crafts.  His art school experience provided Wonner with basic drawing and painting techniques.  He graduated from CCAC in 1941 and was soon drafted into the United States Army. During his service, stationed in San Antonio, Texas, he continued his pursuit of art and even set up a small local studio.

He was discharged in 1946 and immediately headed for New York City to continue his artistic career.  During the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1940s Wonner worked as a commercial artist in New York City.  To satisfy his interest in art he studied at the Art Students League and attended lectures at Robert Motherwells studio where he was exposed to other artists, critics and writers.  He returned to California in 1950 to attend the University of California, Berkeley.  At UC Berkeley he was influenced by the elements of Cubism.

In 1957 he joined a group of eleven other artists for an exhibition called Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting, at the Oakland Museum.  He established a studio in San Francisco in 1960 where he continued to focus on his developing figurative style.  During the 1960s his paintings dealt with individual objects arranged in a setting.  He accepted a teaching position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1968 and went on to teach in various locations in the Los Angeles area.  He settled in San Francisco in 1976 where he continued to work as an Abstract Realist, creating his still lives.

Paul Wonner died on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 on the eve of his 88th birthday in San Francisco.

Biography from Modern Art Dealers
Artist Paul John Wonner was born in Tucson, AZ, and spent a large portion of his life in California. He was an Abstract Expressionist artist and an active member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement.

In particular, Paul Wonner is highly renowned for his Abstract Expressionist still life sketches. Quite a bit of his work concentrates on small items such as jugs or pitchers and organic products like fruit, but he also focused on figures that occupy space. He was keen on art as an adolescent, thereby prompting his parents to hire the services of an art educator to assist him with his drawing amid his secondary school years.

Subsequent to his initial education in art he traveled to California in 1937. The artist put down roots in Oakland, where he enrolled at the California College of The Arts. The experience he gained from art school furnished him with the essential painting, sketching and drawing methods. Paul Wonner graduated in 1941 with a BA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, prior to being drafted into the military service for his country.

During his service, while stationed in San Antonio, Texas, Paul Wonner proceeded with his quest for art and went as far as setting up a little neighborhood studio. In 1946, Paul Wonner was released from military service and he quickly set out toward New York City to proceed with his career in art. During the movement of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s, Paul Wonner filled in as a commercial craftsman in New York City. To fulfill his enthusiasm for art and painting he took classes at the Art Students League and attended symposiums at Robert Motherwell’s studio. There he acquainted with various other art professionals, essayists and critics.

Paul Wonner resumed his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was affected by the elements of Cubism. Paul Wonner earned his BA in 1952, MA in 1953 and an MLS in the year 1955. He filled in as a library administrator at UC Davis in the 1950s, and gave lectures at the Otis Art Institute and UC Santa Barbara in the 1960s.

In 1957, Paul John Wonner affiliated with a gathering of eleven different art specialists for an exhibition known as Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting, at the Oakland Museum of California. With backing from other Bay Area Figurative artists, which included Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922–1993), David Park (American, 1911–1960) and his long-lasting associate Theophilus Brown (American, 1919–2012) whom he had met in 1952 while schooling for his Masters degree. Paul Wonner drew on motivation from Baroque-style Dutch still life arts and Cubist painting styles.

Brimming with colors, and with his paintings frequently portrayed as dreamlike, Paul Wonner’s art was inclined to be more expressionistic in his early years as an artist, and improved toward a hyper-realist style as the years went on. In 1956, Paul Wonner began painting a progression of dreamlike male bathers and young men with bouquets. Acknowledged particularly for his exceptional mature style of still life painting, Paul Wonner painting and art are showcased in public collections all over the United States. For example, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Numerous private collectors are looking for art by Paul Wonner for sale in art exhibitions and galleries all over California, and the United States at large.

In 1968, Paul Wonner took up a lecturing job at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and went ahead to tutor in different areas in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. In 1976, Paul Wonner put down roots in San Francisco, where he kept on working as an Abstract Realist artist, creating his still life paintings. Later in his career, Paul Wonner went back to painting human figures in enigmatically figurative scenes and settings.

On Wednesday, April 23, 2008 on the eve of his 88th birthday in San Francisco, Paul Wonner passed on from natural causes.

Paul Wonner is highly renowned for his still-life depictions done in a unique expressionist style and for all the acknowledgment accorded to him for his artistic accomplishments, Paul Wonner delighted in a high notoriety for his charming persona.

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About  Paul John Wonner

Born:  1920 - Tucson , Arizona
Died:   2008 - San Franciso, California
Known for:  hyper-real still life and figure-view paintings