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William Beckman - Artists - Forum Gallery

William Beckman was born in Maynard, Minnesota in 1942 and studied art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, receiving MA and MFA degrees in 1968.                                                                                             

Throughout his career, William Beckman has used conventional media in unconventional ways.  His unvarnished oil paintings on panel have a depth of image and surface quality uniquely his; it is achieved by a painstaking process of layering oil paint on the panel and polishing each layer by hand before applying another.  His oversize drawings, in charcoal on paper, make use of the charcoal dust and the grain of the paper in the creation of the powerful image.

Beckman began his New York exhibition career in a group show focused on Iowa in 1968 and soon attracted the attention of Allan Stone, at whose gallery the Artist had his first one-person exhibition in 1970.  Notably, William Beckman was included in the landmark exhibition, Contemporary American Realism Since 1960, organized in 1981 by Frank Goodyear at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  The show traveled to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; The Oakland Museum, CA; Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal; and Kunsthalle Nuremberg, Germany.  Beckman’s striking portrait and landscape had immediate and lasting impact.  A two-person exhibition, The Art of William Beckman and Gregory Gillespie, curated by Carl Belz, soon followed at the Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA; and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA in 1984.

Thereafter, William Beckman joined Forum Gallery, where he has been represented since 1993.  In 2002, the Frye Art Museum in Seattle organized a retrospective for William Beckman's paintings and drawings.  Four years later, Beckman's portraits were included in the group exhibition, Portraiture Now, at the Ntional Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., for the inauguration of their new facility.  In 2014-15, Beckman was honored with a retrospective exhibition dedicated to his drawings; organized by the Columbus Museum in Georgia, it then traveled to the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock.

Works by William Beckman are included in the collections of that museum, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), Museum Moderne Kunst (Vienna, Austria), The Art Institute of Chicago (IL), The Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), Flint Institute of Arts (MI), Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), Columbus Museum (GA), Des Moines Art Center (IA), and Frye Art Museum (Seattle, WA).

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