Carmie A. Thompson for Madison Capitol Times
Wisconsin Masters: Karl Priebe
November 1 - January 19, 2014
Opening Reception Friday, November 1
6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Members Only Preview 5:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Our Wisconsin Masters Series continues this year with an exhibition highlighting the life and work of Milwaukee-native, Karl Priebe (1914-1976). Priebe, a notable Wisconsin artist who has made significant contributions to the artistic heritage of Wisconsin, was born in 1914 here in Milwaukee. He graduated from the Layton School of Art and later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1938. Priebe ventured back to Milwaukee and worked in the anthropology department at the Milwaukee Public Museum from 1938-1942 and was the director of the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts in Michigan from 1943-1944. He returned to the Layton School of Art as an instructor in 1947.
Priebe was a leading member in the fantasy school of painting (also known as Surrealism) and is well known for his captivating and individualistic paintings of both African Americans and birds. Not only was he an avid birdwatcher, he was very involved in the African American culture, specifically the jazz scene, and established friendships with many influential jazz artists, such as, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey and Dizzy Gillespie.
Priebe’s talent for portraying his subjects with such gaiety and dream-like charm is beyond artists of his time. His work is frequently described as a welcomed departure from the silo-cow-farmer school too often identified with Midwestern painting. With light whimsical fantasy, Priebe portrays whatever stimulates and appeals to his imagination.
The exhibition will feature paintings from the Museum of Wisconsin Art as well as private collectors.