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Jack Zajac is a Californian West Coast artist who has been concerned with the “Romantic Surrealist tradition”.[2]

Jack Zajac

”To have a message or an emotional stimulation soaked up by an uncertainty of the Artist’s tool — color — shape — form — which are the punctuation of his message, is a discouraging thing. This is the kind of anemia I’m trying to eliminate.”[3]


Jack Zajac is an American artist who was born December 13, 1929 in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1946, his family moved to southern California. After he graduated from high school, he got a job at Kaiser Steel Mill. This experience helped finance his attendance at art school at Scripps College in Claremont, California from 1949 to 1953.

"Sacrificial Goat" by Jack Zajac

"Sacrificial Goat" , Jack Zajac


In 1948, he won a scholarship at a California State Fair student exhibition in Sacramento. He was named recipient of the Purchase Prize at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1950, which led to his first one man exhibit. He is known for his sculptures in bronze and marble, as well as his figurative paintings. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. He is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. He has been an Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, Dartmouth College and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"Bound Goat - Wednesday 1973" - Jack Zajac

"Bound Goat - Wednesday 1973" - Jack Zajac

American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design.

Selected solo exhibitions

* 1951, 53, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 67, 69: Felix Landau Gallery;
* 1951: Pasadena Art Museum;
* 1953: Santa Barbara Museum of Art;
* 1955: Scripps College, Claremont, CA;
* 1955, 61: Schneider Gallery, Rome, Italy;
* 1956: John Young Gallery, Honolulu, HI;
* 1957: Il Segno, Rome;
* 1960: Downtown Gallery, New York, NY;
* 1960, 63: Devorah Sherman Gallery, Chicago, IL;
* 1960: Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London, England;
* 1961: Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, CA;
* 1963: Mills College, Oakland, CA; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA; Galleria Pogliani, Rome;
* 1965: Newport Pavilion Gallery, Balboa, CA;
* 1966, 68: Landau-Alan Gallery, New York, NY;
* 1967: Gallery Marcus, Laguna Beach, CA;
* 1968: Alpha Gallery, Boston, MA;
* 1970: Fairweather Hardin Gallery, Chicago, IL;
* 1971, 74, 78, 83: Forum Gallery, New York, NY;
* 1972, 76: Margherita Gallery, Rome, Italy;
* 1973, 75, 77: Jodi Scully Gallery, Los Angeles, CA[;
* 1973: L’Obelisco Gallery, Rome, Italy;
* 1976: Maitani Gallery, Orvieto, Italy;
* 1974, 77: James Willis Gallery, San Francisco, CA;
* 1977: Zara Gallery, San Jose, CA;
* 1979, 83: Mekler Gallery, Los Angeles, CA;
* 1980: Cedar Street Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA;
* 1983, 87: Bound Goats, Santa Cruz Series, Forum Gallery, NY;
* 1984, 87: Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA;
* 1989 90: Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA;

Selected retrospectives

* 1953, 75: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA;
* 1968: The Galleries of Temple University] Tyler School of Art in Rome;
* 1970: Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Dartmouth College;
* 1977: Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Desert, CA;
* 1978: California State University, Los Angeles, CA;
* 1981: Fresno Arts Center, Fresno, CA;
* 1984: El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX;
* 1990: Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA.

Selected group exhibitions

* 1950: "Artists You Should Know", Los Angeles Art Association;
* 1951: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts;
* 1952: University of Illinois;
* 1955: São Paulo Biennale; Carnegie International;
* 1956: "New Talent, U.S.A., Recent Drawings U.S.A.", Museum of Modern Art, New York;
* 1957: "Young America", Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC;
* 1958: "Festival of Two Worlds", Spoleto, Italy; "Ten Americans Living Abroad", University of Wisconsin;
* 1957, 59: Santa Barbara Museum of Art Biennial;
* 1959,60: Los Angeles County Museum Annual;
* 1959: Whitney Museum of American Art Annual; 63rd American Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago; "Recent Sculpture, U.S.A.", Museum of Modern Art, New York;
* 1960: "Liturgical Art", Arts Club of Chicago; "American Sculpture", Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, France; American Academy in Rome Annual;
* 1961: "Drawings by Sculptors", Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC;
* 1962: "Modern Sculpture from the "Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC; "American Painters Today", circ., Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum and twenty others; "Fifty California Artists", Whitney Museum of American Art; "Some Directions in Modern Sculpture", Providence Art Club, Providence, RI; "American Painting 1962", Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; "Recent Painting U.S.A.: The Figure", Museum of Modern Art, NYC;
* 1962-1963: "The Artist’s Environment: The West Coast", Amon Carter Museum Fort Worth, TX; U.C.L.A. Art Galleries; Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA;
* 1963: "Chadwick, Moore, Zajac: Small Works, M. Knoedler & Co.", NYC;

Works in museums and public collections

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City), the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) are among the public collections holding works by Jack Zajac.
'Big Skull II', bronze sculpture by Jack Zajac, 1929, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden


1. ^ Painting and sculpture in California, the modern era. p. 109
2. ^ Painting and sculpture in California, the modern era. p. 109
3. ^ American abstract and figurative expressionism : style is timely art is timeless : an illustrated survey with artists' statements, artwork and biographies p.244

* Nunberg, Geoffrey, “Jack Zajac; Falling Water: 1962-1987”, Steven Wirtz Gallery, 1987
* Seldis, Henry J. & Ulfert Wilke, “The Sculpture of Jack Zajac”, Galland Press, Los Angeles, 1960
* Marika Herskovic, American Abstract and Figurative Expressionism : Style is Timely Art is Timeless : an illustrated survey with artists' statements, artwork and biographies. (New York, N.J. : New York School Press, 2009.) ISBN 0-9677994-2-2 p. 244-247

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