Jan Zach: Works on Paper

July 30 – October 23, 2016

Print Study Gallery

Explore the drawings, sketch books, and sculpture maquettes created by the late University of Oregon professor Jan Zach (1914-1986). Curated by HFMA collection curator Jonathan Bucci, the exhibition will draw from the museum’s extensive collection of Zach’s art and from the Pacific Northwest Artist Archive housed at Willamette University’s Hatfield Library.

Zach was born in Slany, Czechoslovakia and came to the United States via Brazil and Victoria, BC to teach sculpture at the University of Oregon for 20 years. As a practicing artist, Zach explored themes of light and movement in nature.  

Trained in Czechoslovakia as a painter and decorator, Jan Zach first arrived in the United States in 1938 to paint murals and design decorations for the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. Because of the Nazi invasion of his homeland, he did not return there but worked and lived in Brazil for eleven years, then settled in Canada in 1951. "Leaving Brazil for Victoria, B.C., the beaches of the Pacific Northwest influenced my ideas of sculptural forms as expressed in the twisting and thrusting of trunks and roots of trees," he later commented.

In 1958 he was appointed head of the sculpture department at the University of Oregon, where he taught for many years and established his reputation for a wide range of sculptural approaches including wood carving, laminated wood sculpture, casting, sheet metal construction, and kinetic work.


Portrait of Jan Zach, 1972, gelatin silver print. Photo by Mary Randlett. Collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, 2006.045.010.

Concurrent with the exhibition, the museum will present Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider, a retrospective exhibition of self-taught wood carver Russell Childers (also curated by Bucci). In the late 1970s, Jan Zach played a pivotal role in bringing Childers' work to a larger audience, recommending his work for an exhibition at the University of Oregon, Museum of Art that traveled throughout the Northwest.

Financial Support

Financial support for this exhibition has been provided by general operating support grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

Image not available

Image not available

Jan Zach, "Untitled (Head of Woman)" (detail), 1956

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