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William Wolff

(excerpt from an article by Art Hazelwood)

William Wolff is an anomaly. In an age of revolving art fashions he has shown an allegiance to a modernist tradition in both theme and style. He has lived his entire life in San Francisco and has always been engaged in the Bay Area art world, through his association with seminal Bay Area figurative painters, as well as through his connection with printmaking organizations. But despite these associations he has remained apart from the general direction of this art world. At a time of decreasing interest in artistic tradition he stuck to a belief in the importance of subject matter as well as to a stylistic approach that draws its inspiration from the modernist artists of the first half of the twentieth century.

His work was never engulfed by the tidal wave of art movements during the period of his greatest activity, from 1950 to 2000, and he has continued to nurture the artistic traditions in which literary knowledge provides the subject matter and themes for visual art. Biblical imagery, Commedia dell' Arte characters, classical and Shakespearean motifs, inspirations from poets and writers such as Antonio Machado. John Steinbeck, Rafael Alberti and portraits of authors (including Antonin Artaud, Wilfrid Owen, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti) constitute some of the references in his work. These references and others show his allegiance to a cultural history that is steeped in literature.

With his introduction to printmaking in 1960, a new direction opened for Wolff. Printmaking was the medium that allowed the full content of Wolff's expression to flower. Perhaps it was the relative speed of printmaking, or its more modest scale compared with his paintings that immediately appealed to Wolff. Wolff began with woodcut, and has focused on it throughout his career, though later he also took up etching, silk-screen and lithography. With printmaking, Wolff found a medium that allowed for expressive line work and a graphic boldness that could express both his themes and his rough modernist style.

And overthrew the tables of the Money Changers ,Woodcut by William Wolff

And overthrew the tables of the Money Changers

color woodcut,
20 1/2 x 15 inches
Original works of art by exceptional contemporary printmakers.