Elmer Bischoff: Selections from the Sketchbooks, printed for our exhibition at Minnesota Street Project, features never-before-seen sketches and studies for large figurative paintings, as well as an essay by George Adams.
Featuring over thirty illustrations, the catalogue is the first comprehensive examination of Bischoff’s use of preparatory sketches. According to Bischoff’s widow, Adelie Landis Bischoff, he left stacks of sketches in his studio when he died in March of 1991, which were later consumed in the Oakland Hills firestorm. However, when Adelie passed away in 2019, her trustees were astonished to discover several boxes containing sketches hidden away in a hallway closet. It is from these boxes that the pencil sketches in this catalogue were selected. This collection of sketches allows for unprecedented access to Bischoff’s creative process at a time when he, along with David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, made the then-radical decision to abandon Abstract Expressionism in order to develop a new figurative vocabulary that ultimately became identified as Bay Area Figuration.