William F. Wolff 1922-2004

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Art Hazelwood & William Wolff
Color and Black & White Woodblock Prints
March 1 - April 6, 2014
ArtZone 461 Gallery

William F Wolff, Art Hazelwood exhibition Artzone 461,
2014, screenprint, 22 1/4 x 14 3/4”, edition of 50, $40

ArtZone 461 Gallery is pleased to announce two new exhibitions in concert with the SGC (formerly Southern Graphics Council) International 42nd Annual Conference in San Francisco. As a Host Gallery, ArtZone 461 presents a conference program highlighting printmakers from Poland. As a Participating Gallery, ArtZone 461 presents woodblock prints by William Wolff (1922-2004) and Art Hazelwood. While the Gallery represents the Wolff estate, this is Hazelwood’s first two-person exhibit. Hazelwood frequently contributed to previous group shows.

William Wolff (1922-2004) was a native San Franciscan and a contemporary of first generation Bay Area Figurative artists: Though surrounded by members of the movement, Wolff never fully embraced it. He became a printmaker after painting for over twenty years, during which he eschewed commercial recognition. His paintings and prints represent a singular calling, expressing themes of myth, religion, history and social commentary.

Art Hazelwood worked with William Wolff over the last eight years of his life as archivist, curator and friend. Delving into Wolff’s work so deeply profoundly influenced Hazelwood. There are four major ways Wolff’s prints influenced him – the cutting technique of his woodcuts, his use of color, the boldness of expression and his use of literary themes. In this exhibition the works not only show Wolff’s influences but also presents his work in a new light.

View more art from the show at the Artzone 461 Gallery website

The poster for the show was created by Art Hazelwood using elements from Pillars of Society by Hazelwood and A Woman of Samara by William F. Wolff. Wolff's image showing the hands of Christ as they break through the ethnic and religious intolerance, and Hazelwood's image showing the hands of the elites passing money back and forth.

A review of the show can be seen here

October 24 through November 29, 2009

WILLIAM WOLFF (1922-2004)

In the early 1960s William Wolff found his artistic direction, creating woodcut prints, that he continued making the rest of his life. Wolff had his first solo show of paintings in 1955 in San Francisco at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery that introduced many artists of the Bay Area Figurative movement. Previously at the Campbell Gallery and ArtZone 461, Wolff’s paintings from the 1950s and 1960s have been shown. ArtZone is pleased to present its first exhibition of William Wolff prints (mainly woodcuts), several of which are in the permanent collections of many prominent museums throughout the United States.

Wolff spent his whole life making art. Initially he studied at the California School of Fine Arts (later San Francisco Art Institute) in the early 1940s. After serving in the Army in World War II he returned to his fine art studies. He received a BFA and then an MFA in 1951 from the University of California-Berkeley. In the summer of 1950, at Mills College, he studied with German painter Max Beckmann whose powerful personality left an indelible stamp on Wolff.

Using the modernist flattening and compression developed in his earlier paintings, Wolff’s prints explore philosophical, religious, political and literary themes derived from his extensive reading in several languages. Wolff approached printmaking like painting, by re-working blocks he produced more unique works than multiples, and is why he signed most of them “Artist Proof”.


Bill and Toni Brown

Bill & Toni Brown (double portrait), 1976, color woodcut, 151⁄2 x 221⁄2”

WILLIAM WOLFF (1922-2004)

January 24 - March 1, 2009

William Wolff (1922-2004) was a colleague, friend and portraitist of the Bay Area Figurative painters. Initially similar to theirs, the figures in his work evolved into myth-inspired, classical subjects. His 1950s and 60s paintings record a conversation between Abstract Expressionist improvisation and Cubist structure, within a context of traditional and historic subjects.These, and other references in the work, illuminate Wolff’s interest in representing a cultural history steeped in literature. They also portray his allegiance to a style inspired by early twentieth century Modernist artists. Ultimately, the human figure stands out as the force of meaning.Wolff was born in San Francisco in 1922 and studied at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, he studied with Rupert Garcia, Gordon Cook and Max Beckmann. William Wolff passed away in San Francisco in 2004.

ArtZone 461 Gallery


Masked Warrior, c. 1960, painting on masonite, 48 ” x 36 ”

William Wolff Rarities

An online exhibition at Warnock Fine Arts, July 2008

Warnock Fine Arts, in conjunction with the estate of William Wolff, is offering this group of important and rare prints from this expressive print artist.

Strong interest in William Wolff's work since our exhibit last summer has resulted in many prints being sold out. Many of these prints have been acquired by public collections. Museums such as the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Oakland Museum of California and the Achenbach collection at the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts continue to collect his work.

The woodcuts and etchings offered here are important pieces for which there are only one or two remaining in the estate. William Wolff did not normally edition his work so all the prints in this exhibition are marked by the artist as proofs. This was his standard approach to printmaking.

This exhibition is not hanging in the gallery, but all can be seen here on the web, or by request in the gallery.


December 1, 2007 – January 19, 2008

William Wolff (1922 – 2004)
1950s and 1960s Paintings From the Estate

Charles Campbell Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of William F. Wolff paintings from the 1950s and 1960s. These works trace the development of Wolff’s style over a period of two decades and provide an exciting view of mid century modernism. Early paintings of abstracted still lifes and figures from the 1950s gradually give way to mythologically-inspired subjects.

Wolff initially worked in a style that brought together Abstract Expressionist improvisation and Cubist structure to traditional subject matter. He shared studio space with James Weeks in the early Post War years and both artists shared an interest in experimenting with materials and techniques. Works in this show are oil and tempera, perhaps house paint, on canvas and masonite.

Early works typifying the Bay Area Figurative Movement gradually evolved into myth inspired subjects. They were further elaborated in the bold, expressive woodcuts that Wolff began working with in the 1960s. He is more well known today for his print works, though his first show of paintings was at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery, one of the most important for the Bay Area school, in 1951.

William Wolff was born in SF in 1922 and studied at the California School of Fine Arts (now the SFAI) and received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from UC Berkeley. Additionally, he studied with Rupert Garcia, Gordon Cook and Max Beckmann.

Thomas Albright, the well-known and respected Bay Area art critic, found in Wolff’s paintings of this period a sensibility reminiscent of William Blake’s. This show brings to light a trove of paintings that have rarely been seen since the 1960s and document the artists’ journey from realism to symbolism, from visible to invisible.

Tuesday – Saturday noon to 5:00
Reception Saturday December 1, 3:00 – 6:00 pm

Contact: visit our website, www.campbellgallerysf.com
Astral Theater

Astral Theater, Oil and Tempera Painting on Masonite, 1960s, 60” x 72”

See the exhibition here

William Wolff - Invisible City at Warnock Fine Arts, July 2007

\Catalog available for this show at Blurb.com\

William Wolff, an artist known for his bold woodcut prints on literary and mythological subjects, was born in 1922 in San Francisco. Wolff lived his entire life in that city. After attending Galileo High School with fellow artist and lifelong friend James Weeks, Wolff studied at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute, in the early 1940s. During World War II he served in the European Theater with the 16th Army Compass Corps. Returning to his art studies, Wolff received a MA in art in 1951 from the University of California at Berkeley, sharing a studio with Weeks in the Marina district from 1949 to 1955. Wolff spent the summer of 1950 studying at Mills College with visiting German artist Max Beckmann, whose powerful personality left an indelible stamp on many Bay Area painters including Wolff. His first major exhibition was at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery, a showcase for young artists which introduced many artists of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. He taught at the San Francisco School District’s Youth Guidance Center from 1957 to 1983.

In the early 1960s Wolff found his artistic direction making woodcut prints, using the modernist flattening and compression developed in his earlier paintings to explore the religious, philosophical and literary themes gleaned from his extensive reading in several languages. He worked for more than thirty years at the Graphic Arts Workshop, a cooperative print shop in San Francisco, and served as president of the California Society of Printmakers from 1988 to 1990. He encouraged younger artists generously, although he was reticent regarding his own distinctive humanistic work.

A retrospective of his work was held at St. Mary’s College in Moraga in 2002. His work is in several private and public collections, including the Achenbach Collection at the Legion of Honor, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, the Oakland Museum of California and the Library of Congress.


Figure with Shield, color woodcut, 1963, 20" x 11 1/2"