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William Baziotes

William Baziotes was born on June 11, 1912, in Pittsburgh, and was raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. After brief employment antiquing glass at the Case Glass Company, Baziotes moved to New York in August 1933, where he enrolled at the National Academy of Design and studied with Leon Kroll.
In 1936, William Baziotes started working for the WPA Federal Art Project as an art teacher at the Queens Museum. He also had his first exhibition in a group show at the Municipal Art Gallery in New York. By 1940, he had come to know Surrealists Jimmy Ernst, Gordon Onslow-Ford, and Roberto Matta. These artists had a big influence on him, and he began to experiment with automatism. In 1941, Baziotes was introduced to Robert Motherwell and developed a close friendship. In 1942, he was invited by André Masson to exhibit with Motherwell in the First Papers of Surrealism exhibition at the Whitelaw Reid Mansion in New York. In 1943, he took part in two group shows at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century, New York, which lead to his first solo show with her in 1943.

Cubism's emphasis on structure became another influence, and his works often developed around biomorphic shapes reminiscent of marine-life forms with brooding, primitive qualities encompassed in rich and muted colors. These "biomorphs" were forms that suggested a living organism but did not consciously represent one. In the late 1940s he founded the school Subject of the Artist with Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko in New York City. This consisted of open discussion sessions and lectures and were very well attended. Throughout the 1950s Baziotes held numerous teaching jobs in New York City including the Brooklyn Museum Art School, NYU, the People's Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and Hunter College.
William Baziotes died in New York on June 6, 1963. A memorial exhibition which traveled the country was organized by the Guggenheim Museum.

Crepuscule Dark William Baziotes Oil on Canvas
Crepuscule Dark
William Baziotes
Oil on Canvas
Cyclops William Baziotes Oil on Canvas
William Baziotes
Oil on Canvas



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