Harry F. Widman, Jr.
New Jersey: Englewood, 1929
October 24, 2014
- Occupation or Type
After graduating from Syracuse University in New York, Harry Widman served in the Army. In 1954 he and Richard Muller moved to Eugene to attend a graduate program at the University of Oregon. His circle of friends included sculptor Tom Hardy and Louis Bunce. Widman taught painting at the Extension Division in Coos Bay from 1956-1960. In 1958, after moving to Roseburg, he accepted teaching positions in Port Orford, Roseburg, and Grants Pass. Those who taught Extension classes and traveled around the state acted as "art missionaries," helping the far-flung art community interact. It was an opportunity for these communities to be introduced to Modern Art.
Widman, during his time at the University of Oregon, was exposed to a style later called the "Willamette Valley style," inspired by Cézanne, and based on color theory and interaction. This became an important stylistic manner during the 1960s and 1970s. Widman's earlier paintings contained biomorphic images taken from nature, which gradually evolved into central images or shapes against a color field.
Widman organized and directed the Southern Oregon Arts Festival in Roseburg in 1959. The festival hosted a juried exhibit with artists from Josephine, Coos and Douglas counties. Later in his career Widman was a teacher, and then Dean, at the Museum Art School in Portland.
[Artist biography reproduced with permission from the authors, Oregon Painters: the First Hundred Years (1859-1959), Ginny Allen and Jody Klevit.]
- Related People
Associate of: Louis Bunce (American, 1907-1983)
Associate of: Tom Hardy (American, born 1921)
Associate of: Richard A. Muller (American, 1928-1991)