Loran, Erle, 1905-1999

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Loran (1905-1999) was a painter, writer, teacher at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of "Cézanne's Compositions: Analysis of his Form, With Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs" (1943-1963). In 1976, Richard J. Wattenmaker was Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, where he curated the exhibition "Puvis de Chavannes and the Modern Tradition," October 24-November 30, 1975.

From the description of Letter from Erle Loran to Richard J. Wattenmaker, 1976 May 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79827584

Painter, teacher, writer, lithographer; Berkeley, Calif.; b. 1905; d. 1999

Loran attended University of Minnesota (1922-1923) and Minneapolis School of Art (1924-1926), where he received the Chaloner Foundation Prize (1926) which enabled him to study in France for three years. Particularly interested in Cézanne, he had the good fortune to live in his studio where he immersed himself in Cézanne<U+2019>s world, an experience that was crucial to the development of his artistic vision. Upon his return to the U.S. he published many articles on Cézanne that developed into his pioneering book, Cézanne<U+2019>s Composition (1943). In 1936, he joined the art department of the University of California, Berkeley, retiring emeritus professor of art in 1981. He, along with Worth Ryder and John Haley (both studied with Hans Hoffmann, as did Loran in 1955), helped bring a modernist impulse based on Hoffmann and the lessons of Cézanne to the university and the Bay area in the 1930s.

From the description of Erle Loran papers, 1913-1991. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220244094

Painter, writer, and teacher Erle Loran (1905-1999) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but spent most of his life painting and teaching in California.

Loran attended University of Minnesota (1922-1923) and Minneapolis School of Art (1924-1926), where he received the Chaloner Foundation Prize (1926) which enabled him to study in France for three years. Particularly interested in Cézanne, he had the good fortune to live in his studio where he immersed himself in Cézanne's world, an experience that was crucial to the development of his artistic vision. Upon his return to the U.S. he published many articles on Cézanne that developed into his pioneering book, "Cézanne's Composition" (1943). In 1937, he joined the art department of the University of California, Berkeley, retiring emeritus professor of art in 1981.

From the description of Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 368021113

California painter, writer, and teacher Erle Loran was born on October 2, 1905 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended the Minneapolis School of Art and graduated in 1926. That same year, Loran won the Paris Prize from the Chaloner Foundation which enabled him to study in France for the next three years. Here, he immersed himself into the world of Paul Cezanne. He lived for two years in Cézanne's studio, meeting many who knew Cezanne, including painter Emile Bernard, and art dealer Ambroise Vollard. This experience was critical to the development of Loran's artistic vision and his later writings and lectures about Cézanne.

In 1929, Loran returned to the United States, and published the article "Cézanne's Country" in The Arts in 1930. He then spent the early 1930s in Minnesota, after returning to Minneapolis to be treated for tuberculosis. There, Loran began to paint in a regionalist style, producing landscapes and scenes of life in rural Minnesota. In 1931, Loran was given his first one-man show at the Kraushaar Gallery in New York. During the depression, Loran began teaching art and was given painting commissions as part of the federal arts programs of the WPA.

Loran moved to California in 1937 and accepted a position as professor in the art department at the University of California, Berkeley. There he taught until retiring in 1973, serving as the department's chair in the 1950s. He established a program to invite east coast artists to teach at the university, and participants included Conrad Marca-Relli and Milton Resnick. Loran's students included Jay DeFeo, Richard Diebenkorn, and Sam Francis. In 1941 Loran began to write the synthesis of his research and interpretations about Cézanne's work, culminating in his pioneering book Cézanne's Composition published in 1943 by the University of California Press.

During this period Loran associated himself with modernist Hans Hoffman. Loran's early paintings were lyrical abstractions in primary colors; however, his style constantly changed with the times. Watercolor was Loran's medium of choice because it lent itself to his often-remote plein air locations, such as the ghost towns of California and Nevada. With John Haley and Worth Ryder he formed the "Berkeley Group," whose paintings consisted of scenes of the California and southwestern landscape painted in flat, open areas of color. During the war, painting in the open became increasingly difficult and Loran transitioned from plein-air painting to studio work. Shortly thereafter he began to focus his painting on abstraction.

Loran's artwork during the 1950s consisted primarily of abstractions based on natural forms like crystal and driftwood. In 1955, he spent six weeks studying with Hans Hofmann, whom he later called, along with Cézanne, a second "great father figure." In 1960, he was instrumental in securing a gift of forty-five paintings by Hans Hofmann for Berkeley's University Art Center. In the late 1960s, his work became a fusing of Op, Pop, and Hard Edge. From this he moved to figurative painting and later to geometric designs and symbols.

Loran continued to paint throughout the rest of his life in a variety of styles, including nudes, abstractions, and landscapes. Besides being an artist and a teacher, Loran was also a lifelong collector of ethnic art who specialized in African, Asian, Native American, and pre-Columbian tribal art. Many works from his collection are presently housed at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Loran died in 1999 in Berkeley, at the age of 93.

From the guide to the Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Loran, Erle, 1905-. Erle Loran : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
creatorOf LORAN, ERLE. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Bethers, Ray, 1902-. Ray Bethers papers, 1949-1950. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Loran, Erle, 1905-1999. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Haley, John, 1905-1991. John and Monica Haley papers, 1927-1987. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Portraits of University of California individuals and groups, ca. 1850-[ongoing] The Bancroft Library. University Archives.
referencedIn Wessels, Glenn, 1895-1982. Glenn Wessels papers, [ca. 1932-1982]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983,. Oral History interview with Miyoko Ito, 1978 July 20 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco interviews with artists, 1982. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Andrew Dasburg Papers, 1908-1981 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Pepper, Stephen C. (Stephen Coburn), 1891-1972. Festschrift presented to Stephen Coburn Pepper, 1952. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983,. Oral History interview with Miyoko Ito, 1978 July 20 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Loran, Erle, 1905-1999. Letter from Erle Loran to Richard J. Wattenmaker, 1976 May 25. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988. person
associatedWith Bear, Donald, 1905-1952. person
associatedWith Bethers, Ray, 1902- person
associatedWith Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906. person
associatedWith Dasburg, Andrew, 1887-1979. person
associatedWith Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964. person
associatedWith De Maria, Walter, 1935- person
associatedWith Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993. person
associatedWith Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. corporateBody
associatedWith Frankenstein, Alfred Victor, 1906- person
associatedWith Friends of Ethnic Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994. person
associatedWith Guglielmi, Louis, 1906-1956. person
associatedWith Haley, John, 1905-1991. person
associatedWith Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943. person
associatedWith Hatfield, Dalzell, 1893-1963. person
associatedWith Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988. person
associatedWith Hess, Thomas B. person
associatedWith Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966. person
associatedWith Holty, Carl, 1900-1973. person
associatedWith Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983, person
associatedWith Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953. person
associatedWith Langsner, Jules, 1911-1967. person
associatedWith Levinson, Harry person
associatedWith Levinson, Harry. person
associatedWith Marchutz, Léo, 1903-1976. person
associatedWith McNeil, George, 1908-1995. person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pepper, Stephen C. (Stephen Coburn), 1891-1972. person
associatedWith Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre, 1824-1898. person
associatedWith Rattner, Abraham. person
associatedWith Rich, Daniel Catton, 1904-1976. person
associatedWith Sabean, Samuel person
associatedWith Sabean, Samuel. person
associatedWith Sabean, Samuel. person
associatedWith San Francisco Art Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Schaefer, Bertha, 1895-1971. person
associatedWith Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980. person
associatedWith Taylor, Francis Henry, 1903-1957. person
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley corporateBody
associatedWith Venturi, Lionello, 1885-1961. person
associatedWith Wattenmaker, Richard J. person
associatedWith Wessels, Glenn, 1895-1982. person
associatedWith Wilke, Ulfert, 1907-1987. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California--San Francisco Bay Area
France
California--Berkeley
California--Berkeley
Subject
Painters--California--Berkeley
Art, Modern--20th century
Lithographers
Art teachers
Artists' studios--Photographs
Painting, Modern--20th century--California--Berkeley
Painters
Art, Abstract
Art--Collectors and collecting
Painting, Modern--20th century
Art--American (?)--Reproductions
Lithography, Modern--20th century
Art--Collectors and collecting--California--San Francisco Bay Area
Art teachers--California--Berkeley
Art, American
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1905-10-03

Death 1999-05-13

Americans

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