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Jack Wilkinson

Jack Wilkinson

Male 1913 - 1974  (61 years)

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  • Name Jack Wilkinson 
    Born 02 Jul 1913  Berkeley, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Biography University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Artist and philosopher Jack Wilkinson, was born in Berkeley, California in 1913, and grew up in the Hawaiian Islands. He first came to the University of Oregon to study journalism but switched to an art major, and later served on the faculty in the Art Department from 1941-1968. In his first year teaching at the U of O, Wilkinson started one of the earliest Basic Design programs in the United States, and then became head of the Art Department in 1962. He also served as the head of the Art Department at Louisiana State University from 1968 until his death in 1974. Dave Foster, who was one of his earliest students and later his collegue, named the Wilkinson House, located at the Eugene Millrace, after the innovative painter and thinker Jack Wilkinson to honor his legend. 
    Biography Lithographer, painter. Born in Berkeley, CA on July 2, 1913.

    Wilkinson studied at the University of Oregon, CSFA under Maurice Sterne, and in Paris. During the 1930s he was a resident of San Francisco, and after 1941 taught at the University of Oregon and Lousiana State University.

    He died in East Hampton, NY in 1974. Exh: SFAA, 1937 (prize); CSFA, 1939 (solo); Portland Museum, 1945 (solo).

    In: SFMA; Burns (OR) Post Office. WWAA 1940-53; SS.  [2
    Residence 1951  Eugene, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    2525 Van Ness Street
    Eugene, Oregon 97403
    United States 
    Died 04 Aug 1974  East Hampton, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Biography 1990  [3
    Jack Wilkinson was born in Berkeley, California in 1913, and raised in Hawaii, the son of a construction company owner. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Oregon from 1932 to 1935, initially pursuing a degree in jounalism but then entering the art program in order to learn how to illustrate an article he had written for the school newspaper. He then moved back to San Francisco to further his studies in art at the California School of Fine Arts from 1935 to 1937, studying principally with Maurice Sterne, eventually becoming an assistant and apprentice of Sterne along with fellow classmates Nell Sinton and Charles Voorhies.

    In 1937 he was awarded the J.D. Phelan Travelling Scholarship, which would allow him to travel extensively in Europe and view works in major art institutions overseas. At the same time, however, his mentor Maurice Sterne had asked him to be an assistant in his studio for a mural project for the Department of Justice. Consequently he was granted a postponement of travel in order to work with Sterne as well as improve his French prior to departure. Travelling to Chicago, New York, and then on the Europe in 1938, Wilkinson established a studio in Paris, which would become his base of operation when he subsequently journeyed to Italy, Germany, Holland and England. While in Paris, a romance blossomed between Wilkinson and fellow painter Una McCann, who also had a studio in Paris. With Europe on the verge of war, the two painters would return to San Francisco in late 1939. Wilkinson and McCann would marry the following year in California. Perhaps most notable of Wilkinson?s time in Paris was his conversion to the theories and approach to painting of Cezanne and to a lesser extent, Pissarro.

    Upon his return to San Francisco, Wilkinson entered and won a Treasury department competition for a Post Office mural to be installed in Burns, Oregon. His wife assisted him in completing the mural in the summer of 1941. Upon arrival in Burns to install the finished mural, they discovered that the dimensions they had been given were inaccurate, resulting in considerable on site rework. The mural currently hangs in the main court room in the Harney County Courthouse in Burns. Wilkinson and his wife then drove from Burns to Eugene, Oregon to visit friends. Upon their arrival in Eugene, they found that Lance Wood Hart, an assistant art professor at the university, had died [26 May 1941], and so they stayed in Eugene for the funeral. Wilkinson was then asked if he would be willing to cover Hart's classes for the term. This would be the start of Wilkinson's 37 year tenure with the school. His classes became legendary among his students. He established one of the earliest basic design classes in the United States and his intergration of philosophy, psychology, and mathematics into his classes offered his students an intriguing, broad and intellectual approach to art.

    While Wilkinson is perhaps best known as a teacher, he was quite talented as a painter, remaining quite active with his own art throughout his life. His earlier canvasses show an affinity for the human figure. Through the 1930s and 1940s, his work was expressionistic and compatible with predominant art concerns of the time. Toward the late 1940s onward, a more highly stylized and abstracted approach appeared, with canvasses executed with spontaneous, energetic and broad brushwork. Later works reveal an increasing interest in landscape painting.

    Throughout his career, he remained fascinated with mural painting as a venue to explore more complex and complicated themes. He would often paint over previous works many times as the act of painting seemed to hold a primacy above the final result, as well as a place to try out evolving concepts, no matter how successful or unsuccessful. For Wilkinson, painting above all seemed to be a journey of investigation and confirmation of the ideas that he was constantly visualizing and revising. Over the years, he continued to exhibit his work internationally as well as regionally.

    In 1962, Wilkinson became chair of the art department at University of Oregon. For a variety of reasons, many beyond his control, Wilkinson?s additional duties as the prime administrator for the department proved to be an increasingly untenable burden for him as the 1960s progressed culminating in his resignation from his position in Eugene and subsequent move to Louisianna State University to head up the art department there in 1968. While at LSU, he developed and artist-in-residence program and started an MFA program. Additionally, his teaching had an even more substantial impact upon art students from the more conservative South. He remained in his position at LSU until his death in 1974. A comprehensive retrospective of Wilkinson?s work was exhibited at the University of Oregon in 1990.  
    • I have been provided with a copy of the death certificate for Lance W. Hart. It shows that he was born on 11 Nov 1891 in Aberdeen, Washington and died on 26 May 1941 at home (1831 University Street, Eugene, Oregon). The cause of death is shown as "hypertension cardio, duration 9 years; renal disease."

      The death certificate indicates Hart was a professor at the University of Oregon. Father: Alfred W. Hart; Mother: Emily McClelland Gears (born Kentucky).

      State of Oregon State File Number 282; Local Registrar Number 203.
    Person ID I177  Walsh - Wilson Family Tree | Craig
    Last Modified 11 Oct 2017 

    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Emilia Katharina Wyser,   b. 5 Apr 1873, Niedergosgen, Switzerland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1959, Eugene, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Family ID F505778253  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Una McCann,   b. 15 Feb 1913, Redwood City, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Mar 2013, Pays de la Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 100 years) 
    Married 21 Sep 1940  [4
    Children 
     1. Catherine Marie Wilkinson
    Last Modified 7 Jul 2008 
    Family ID F860  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Photograph of Jack Wilkinson
    Photograph of Jack Wilkinson
    In the classroom at the University of Oregon
    Jack Wilkinson at the University of Oregon
    Jack Wilkinson at the University of Oregon
    Image courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
    Jack and Una Wilkinson and their Dalmatian dog, Myrtle - From the late 1940's
    Jack and Una Wilkinson and their Dalmatian dog, Myrtle - From the late 1940's
    Jack, Una, and Catherine Wilkinson - 1950
    Jack, Una, and Catherine Wilkinson - 1950
    Jack Wilkinson and his mother Lily Wyser Wilkinson - Hawaii
    Jack Wilkinson and his mother Lily Wyser Wilkinson - Hawaii
    Lily Wyser Wilkinson and her son Jack Wilkinson
    Lily Wyser Wilkinson and her son Jack Wilkinson
    1258 Koko Head Avenue, looking east over Kaimuki and (in the distance) Kahala - 1927
    Jack Wilkinson Painting His Mural at the Post Office in Burns, Oregon
    Jack Wilkinson Painting His Mural at the Post Office in Burns, Oregon
    Black and white photograph of Jack Wilkinson painting his mural at the Post Office in Burns, Oregon in the summer of 1941 (courtesy of Caroline Wilkinson), combined with a colour photograph of the mural today, taken by Pauline Brayman. The mural is now located in a courtroom in the Court House of Harney County, Oregon.
    Jack Wilkinson's Mural as it hangs today (August 2008), a court room of the Circuit Court of Harney County, Burns, Oregon
    Jack Wilkinson's Mural as it hangs today (August 2008), a court room of the Circuit Court of Harney County, Burns, Oregon
    Photograph courtesy of Pauline Braymen. She wrote on 17 Aug 08, "I am so excited that the history of the mural is being protected. I was editor of the Burns Times-Herald for about 18 years and we did a big story with photos when the mural was moved from the post office (yes, new post office, nice and modern, but not nearly so magnificent as the old three-story one that had marble floors, brass postal boxes, high ceilings, winding staircase, and the only elevator in Burns). I can't remember the year. I'll just have to go through the archives until I find it. I'll find out when the new post office was completed and that will narrow it down. The process of cleaning the mural and removing it from the wall was very interesting and was well done by the professionals hired to do it."

    Documents
    Press Release - 'Exhibit Offers Insight Into the Filmmaking of James Ivory'
    Press Release - "Exhibit Offers Insight Into the Filmmaking of James Ivory"
    "Ivory credits legendary University of Oregon art professor Marion Ross and painting teacher Jack Wilkinson with training his eye for visual images."
    University of Oregon, Eugene - Campus Map
    University of Oregon, Eugene - Campus Map
    Showing the location of the Wilkinson House
    Passenger List - "De Grasse" from Le Harve, France to New York City
    Arrival in NYC on 27 Aug 1951. New York Passenger Lists, Year: 1951; Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_8027; Line: 15. (At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.)
    1930 United States Census - Emilia [Lillie] Wyser Wilkinson
    1930 United States Census - Emilia [Lillie] Wyser Wilkinson
    The 1930 census Emilia [Lillie] Wyser Wilkinson (age 55, born in Switzerland, naturalised in 1895) living at 1261-B Center Street, Honolulu, Hawaii. With her are her sons Charles Wilkinson (age 25, an electrician in an electrical plant, born in Hawaii, father born in England) and Jack Wilkinson (age 16, born in California, father born in England).

    Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii Territory; Roll: 2633; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1; Image: 7.0.

    Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
    Jack Wilkinson - 1940 Census
    Jack Wilkinson - 1940 Census
    The census shows Jack Wilkinson living at 728 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California. He is shown as the partner of the head of the house, and was living at the same address in 1935. He is an artist, age 26.
    Jack Wilkinson and the Burns, Oregon Post Office Mural
    Jack Wilkinson and the Burns, Oregon Post Office Mural
    Wilkinson, Artist, Going to Europe
    Wilkinson, Artist, Going to Europe
    Honolulu Advertiser, 2 Jun 1937. Jack Wilkinson studied with Maurice Steine in San Francisco (1878-1957).

    Histories
    The History of the Burns, Oregon Mural - Painted by Jack Wilkinson
    The History of the Burns, Oregon Mural - Painted by Jack Wilkinson
    From Jack Wilkinson, artist, philosopher, 1913-1974 -
    Published in 1990, Dept. of Fine and Applied Arts and the Museum of Art, University of Oregon (Eugene, OR) - LC 89021474. Up-to-date photo of the mural by Pauline Braymen.

    Albums
    Jack Wilkinson Birth Certificate
    Jack Wilkinson Birth Certificate (4)
    Jack Wilkinson has a three-page birth certificate, obtained from the State of California Department of Public Health.

  • Sources 
    1. [S4910] Artists in California 1786-1940, Edan Milton Hughes, (Crocker Art Museum), ISBN 0961611200.

    2. [S4910] Artists in California 1786-1940, Edan Milton Hughes, (Crocker Art Museum), ISBN 0961611200. (Reliability: 2).

    3. [S4909] Works of Jack Wilkinson, Kenneth R. O'Connell, (University of Oregon - Dept. of Fine and Applied Arts) (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S4909] Works of Jack Wilkinson, Kenneth R. O'Connell, (University of Oregon - Dept. of Fine and Applied Arts), Chronology - Page 62 (Reliability: 2).