The son of Polish immigrants, Chicago-born Ed Paschke spent the majority of his life living on Chicago’s Northwest side. Growing up, Paschke’s artistic influences included his father, also an artist, and the animation of Disney and cartoons, which led him after high school to pursue both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts at the School of the Art Institute. During his graduate studies, he became affiliated with a group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists.
As one of the most visible of the Chicago Imagists, Paschke created a distinctive interpretation of contemporary American culture viewed through the unique perspective of newspapers, tabloids, and electronic media. Paschke’s work developed an unmistakable confrontational style, which captured the grittiness of urban life. Subject matter is depicted using intricate patterns and vibrant colors with a neon pallete. Paschke used color to reach peoples’ nervous system; to him painting was a process of discovery—about solving a problem. Of his art, Paschke once said, “They either love it or hate it but rarely are they indifferent to it.”
Paschke exhibited primarily with the Phyllis Kind Gallery in Chicago and New York from 1977 to 1996, the Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris from 1974 through 2004 and the Maya Polsky Gallery in Chicago from 1996 through 2004. His first major retrospective was sponsored by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989 and traveled to the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Dallas Museum of Art. A professor of art at Northwestern University and a leading activist for the arts, Paschke was a popular and accessible artist of international stature.
While Paschke has deep artistic Chicago roots, his works are in permanent collections of major American and European museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Centre George Pompidou and the Louvre Museum in Paris.
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