Claire Falkenstein

1909–1997

Biography

Claire Falkenstein (; July 22, 1908 – October 23, 1997) was an American sculptor, painter, printmaker, jewelry designer, and teacher, most renowned for her often large-scale abstract metal and glass public sculptures. Falkenstein was one of America's most experimental and productive twentieth-century artists.

Falkenstein relentlessly explored media, techniques, and processes with uncommon daring and intellectual rigor. Though she was respected among the burgeoning post-World-War-II art scene in Europe and the United States, her disregard for the commodification of art coupled with her peripatetic movement from one art metropolis to another made her an elusive figure.

Falkenstein first worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, then in Paris and New York, and finally in Los Angeles. She was involved with art groups as radical as the Gutai Group in Japan and art autre in Paris and secured a lasting position in the vanguard, which she held until her death in 1997.

Her works have been exhibited at the Tate in London, Musée Rodin and the Louvre in Paris, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Art Institute of Chicago, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among many other institutions.

Falkenstein’s current reputation rests on her sculpture, and her work in three dimensions was often radical and ahead of her time.

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