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Elmer Bischoff (b. 1916)
Woman with Yellow Flowers
signed and titled 'Elmer Bischoff Woman with Yellow Flowers' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
56 x 56 in. (142.8 x 144.2 cm.)
Painted in 1958
Provenance
Staempfli Gallery, New York.
Exhibited
New York, Staempfli Gallery, Elmer Bischoff, January 1960.

Lot Essay

Elmer Bischoff was a vital and defining member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement which he forged in the 1950s along with Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Joan Brown and Nathan Oliveira among others. The present example, Woman with Yellow Flowers is a superb example of the artist's seminal series of outdoor bathers and women holding flowers that he developed in the late 1950s. Ones first impression of the painting is the intimate nature of it's "snapshot" quality. We glimpse a woman simply posed, alone, deep in private thought. There is almost a desire to look away, so as not to interrupt her reverie. But, Bischoff's vibrant and powerful brush strokes and the mysterious background composed of bravado expressionist passages of dark paint provokes a long, second look.

'I have often thought that the pictures of this period of my work should not be considered "figure in landscape" but "landscape with figure"--ocean, sky, rocks with figure. Obviously, there is an emotional involvement with the figure, but right away, I'd have to say, also with the trees, the sky, the rocks, the water, the interior scene...but which there's this emotional involvement with these things, it's as if they arise naturally, so to speak, as a kind of gift--in the act of painting' (Caroline A. Jones, exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Bay Area Figurative Art 1950-1965, San Francisco, 1990, p. 72).
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