News & Events

On behalf of the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART, WOLFS is pleased to present an exhibition and sale of important works by Joseph O’Sickey. This is the first in a series of exhibitions from the monumental bequest to the Institute from the estate of the famous Ohio artist. Containing major unseen works, both large and unique, small and charming, all in the colorful and exuberant style for which O’Sickey is so well-known.

Joseph O'Sickey, born in Detroit in 1918, was a painter and teacher throughout his career.  As a child he attended Saturday classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which retains one of his paintings in its permanent collection.

He graduated from the Cleveland School of Art (Cleveland Institute of Art) in 1940 and taught at Ohio State University (1946-47), Akron Art Institute (1949-52), Western Reserve University School of Architecture (1956-64), and Kent State University (1964-89). 

Among the most honored painters active in the region, O'Sickey won the Cleveland Arts Prize in Visual Arts in 1974, and was called "a dean of painting in Northeast Ohio" by Steven Litt, art and architecture critic of the Plain Dealer. 

I love drawing and I love painting. It is a privilege to be a painter, but I do not advocate for the ‘art career’ syndrome. Painters should not reject their crucial personal development and observation. I have always held a job as a teacher or graphic artist so that I could be free in my work, and separately concentrate on my growth and development as a painter.” - Joseph O’Sickey

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BEACHWOOD, Ohio — A posthumous and partial retrospective exhibition at WOLFS gallery on the impressive abstract paintings of the late Cleveland-area artist Richard Andres from 1950 to 1975 is a bittersweet revelation.

The revelation is that Andres, (1927-2013) who has been overlooked for decades, became a very strong artist in Northeast Ohio after World War II. Combining idiosyncratic abstract shapes, bold colors, and wide-ranging moods, his paintings are very much worth appreciating today.

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​In addition the current exhibition and sale Richard Andres: Early Works 1950-1975, WOLFS is featuring select works from the collections of two important Cleveland School artists, Ken Nevadomi and Clarence Holbrook Carter.

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This is the long-awaited debut of the Richard Andres collection; a rare exhibition of a recently unearthed cache of his remarkable mid-century paintings, stored for decades beneath the iconic modernist home of his own design in Hudson, Ohio, suburb of Cleveland.

 

Richard Andres was an odd combination of an artistic hermit and a figure on top of the latest developments on the contemporary scene. After studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art on a National Scholastic scholarship, Andres immersed himself in painting, spending off-hours at the Cleveland Museum, focusing on artists such as Van Gogh and Matisse. When asked to describe his art, Andres struggled. “It’s hard to describe art. Art is something that’s there, to look at. So words are very difficult. Essentially, the closest I can come is to say I’m a 1950s painter. The ‘50s was sort of an attitude toward art. It was going to be big. It was going to be strong. This great big group of painters had this attitude toward painting and it’s hard to pin it down because each painter was different. It really is a style that’s hard to define but the term ‘abstract expressionism’ is often used.”

According to 60’s critic Helen Borsick “Technically his paintings are abstractions, but that is only part of the story. Andres’ complex style of composition – strong in design and drawing – involves compartmentalizing the canvas with favorite signs, figurative allusions and symbols. Any degree of familiarity with his canvases develops recognition of his painting language and repeated forms as well as of the endless nuances of color tints and overpaint and underpainting methods.”

Some of Andres’ inspiration came from other artists, once stating that Edward Munch, Emile Nolde and Max Beckmann ranked within his top 10 most admired painters. While often being his own worst critic, Andres grew content and more relaxed later in life, saying, “For years, I’d do a painting and say, ‘But it’s not good enough. You try to achieve something and you overachieve it but it’s still not good enough. I finally did a painting and looked at it and said, ‘That is good enough.’ From that point on, the older paintings got better in my own mind.” While with his finger always on the pulse of his more famous contemporaries, Andres was content to simply produce, preferring to avoid the limelight.

Director Michael Wolf describes his discovery of this trove of “masterful abstraction expressionist works” as “a rare and wondrous event,” and comments that it evokes “the heady times of the mid-century American art world.”

A fully illustrated catalog with over 50 works including an essay by Dr. Henry Adams accompanies the exhibition.

Richard Andres: Selected Works 1950-1975

June 9 - August 20, 2022

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WOLFS Gallery in Beachwood provides panoramic glimpse of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s one-time annual May Show

By Steven Litt, cleveland.com

 

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