Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957-64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 21, 2018.

Richard Haas (b. 1936) Pensive Figure, 1962 (ed.1) Woodcut. 25.5 x 24 in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Richard Haas Studio. Photograph by Paul Mutino.

Richard Haas (b. 1936) Pensive Figure, 1962 (ed.1) Woodcut. 25.5 x 24 in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Richard Haas Studio. Photograph by Paul Mutino.

Richard Haas’s expansive oeuvre is predominantly marked by trompe l’oeil murals and detailed renderings of New York City’s architecture. But before he began recording urban landscapes, Haas sought inspiration from German Expressionist printmakers and Abstract Expressionist painters.

Included in the exhibition are prints produced from 1957 to 1964 — a seven-year period that, in many ways, encapsulates the artist’s graphic evolution.

“Richard Haas’s early figural woodcuts are a departure from his now more familiar images of the urban landscape,” said Peter C. Sutton, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “This show centers on the expressiveness of the human form and will come as a revelation to some of his many admirers.”

Richard Haas (b. 1936) Einstein, 1962 (ed. 1) Woodcut. 23.25 x 19 in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Richard Haas Studio. Photograph by Paul Mutino.

While attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a city heavily settled by German immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, Haas began studying German Expressionism. Informed by the emotive woodcuts of Max Beckmann and Erich Heckel, Haas’s large-scale prints include abstract portraits of European artists and great thinkers. He later enrolled in a summer course with Jack Tworkov — a New York School artist painting in an Abstract Expressionist mode.  In the years following, Haas produced etchings and monotypes indicative of Tworkov’s gestural abstraction.

Haas’s deep interest in 19th-century European history informs many of these early prints. Included in the exhibition are woodcuts from Haas’s Famous Heads series, comprising portraits of Henry VIII, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Gauguin, and Albert Einstein.

Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957-64 will be accompanied by a catalogue authored by Elizabeth Smith, Zvi Grunberg Fellow 2017-18. Exhibitions at the Bruce Museum are supported by the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

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