SUArt Galleries celebrates career and life of Karl Schrag

The Syracuse University Art Galleries is celebrating the career and life of Karl Schrag, American painter and printmaker who would have been 100 years old this year. “Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions” is the first major examination of the artist’s work since his death in 1995. The exhibition, which runs from Aug. 30 through Oct. 21, 2012, includes 70 original works of art by the influential artist, including paintings, prints and drawings.

schragSchrag’s art career spanned more than 60 years and he had strong ties to the New York City art scene. After studying at the Art Students League, he joined S.W. Hayter's prestigious printmaking studio Atelier 17, working alongside artists Miró, Chagall and Jackson Pollock. Schrag was named director of the Atelier in 1950 and later began a long teaching career at Cooper Union, where he taught drawing and graphic arts from 1954-1968. Schrag had a direct impact on many of his students, including the Syracuse University-based artist Jerome Witkin. A student of Schrag at Cooper Union and a well-established contemporary artist, Witkin has commented on Schrag’s masterful handling of the landscape, and the evocative power of his vision.

The art selected for “Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions” will convey the artist’s ability to see the landscape as if for the first time, the surprise of that special view, the recognition of his ability to feel wonder when looking at nature or figures, and the reward associated with seeing the world through his eyes. As stated by Schrag, “While I believe that the outward appearance of nature is but the shell of a deeper and richer inside world that I wish to understand, I also know that the forms of art are in their infinite relationships charged with profound meanings.”

SUArt chose 2012 to reinvestigate the talent, imagination and sensitivity Schrag brought to his landscapes, still-life paintings and portraits because it is the centenary year of his birth. The Syracuse University Art Collection boasts a complete collection of graphic works—prints in every medium, etchings, aquatints, engravings, lithographs and relief work. SUArt has also helped produce a catalogue raisonné of his work that has been published in three installments.

Curated by SUArt Galleries Director Domenic J. Iacono, the exhibition highlights numerous prints from the Syracuse University Art Collection, as well as loaned work consisting of paintings and drawings from the artist’s family. A 128-page, fully illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition.

The show is free and open to the public. Complete information and related programming is available by visiting the SUArt Galleries website at suart.syr.edu.

The SUArt Galleries will host a free opening night reception from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30. Patrons are welcome to view the exhibition until the gallery closes at 8 p.m. The reception is open to the public.