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Emil Holzhauer: The Georgia Years to Open at the Morris Museum of Art
Emil Holzhauer, Back Porches, Macon, Georgia, 1948. Courtesy of the Charleston Renaissance Gallery.

AUGUSTA, GA.- Emil Holzhauer: The Georgia Years opens to the public at the Morris Museum of Art on August 29, 2009. Holzhauer’s paintings are being exhibited at the Morris for the first time.

“During the years that he taught at Wesleyan College in Macon , Emil Holzhauer traveled widely throughout Georgia, painting in Savannah, Augusta, and Macon,” stated Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art. “He produced wonderful images in a highly personal style that captured the life of his adopted home vividly and energetically. He was trained at the Art Students League in New York, and his mature work serves as a link between the South and the emerging Modernist movement in America.”

Emil Holzhauer
Born in Schwabisch-Gmund, Germany, in 1887, Emil Holzhauer became an avant-garde painter whose mature work is characterized by heavy lines, vivid color, and rhythmic, harmonic space. Holzhauer was represented in more than seventy-five group shows and many solo exhibitions during his long career. His primary mediums were watercolor, oil, and casein.

As a young man in Germany, he apprenticed in a silver and metalwork factory where he learned design and modeling, and in the evenings, he studied art at the Staatliche Werkkunst Schule.

He arrived in New York in 1906 unable to speak English. Undaunted, he began studying with Robert Henri in 1906. (Among his fellow students were Edward Hopper, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent.) His experience of the Armory Show in 1913, a watershed in American art history, combined with the influence of Henri's teaching, particularly as it related to subject matter, led Holzhauer to explore and adopt such modernist modes as Expressionism, Fauvism, and Social Realism. He was especially influenced by the expressive images of Cezanne, and the stylistically surprising canvases of Van Gogh, who was then still little-known in the United States .

Holzhauer secured his first solo show in 1915 at the Hanfstaengel Gallery in New York . He moved to Chicago in 1921 and taught art at the Art Institute from 1921 to 1942 before moving to Macon , Georgia where he taught at Wesleyan College from 1942 to 1953. His years in the South— Georgia , South Carolina , and North Carolina —were influential on his work, and they proved to be especially fruitful for him as an artist. Holzhauer was drawn to the scenes of everyday life by which he was surrounded, and he focused primarily on the slightly offbeat and unexpected—the working class areas and people, the South only a resident could see.

In 1953, he retired to Niceville , Florida , where he taught until 1972 and where he continued to paint almost to the end of his long life in 1986.

Emil Holzhauer: The Georgia Years remains on view at the Morris Museum of Art through November 29, 2009. All of the work in the exhibition is on loan from the Charleston Renaissance Gallery in Charleston in South Carolina .

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