H.C. Westermann

 

He was a battle-tested U.S. Marine who became an artist, and he launched his career in Chicago. His friends called him "Cliff," but the art world knew him as "H.C. Westermann." Westermann's eventful life took him from war in the Pacific to the cover of a Beatles album. We take a look at an artist who ignored the trends of the era and followed his own path on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

The following is a description and history of Westermann from the Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago:

An Affair in the Islands, 1972 by H.C. Westermann. Courtesy AIC. Click image to view photo gallery.

H.C. Westermann, 1922-1981
Born in 1922, H. C. (Horace Clifford) Westermann grew up in Los Angeles, California. As a child, he designed and fabricated his own carts, scooters, and toy airplanes, and even built an addition onto his family's home. After enrolling in Los Angeles City College and briefly working as a logger, Westermann enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in World War II, after which he developed an acrobatic act and toured Japan and China with the United Services Organization. In 1947, Westermann moved to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute. He graduated in 1954 after a brief interruption to serve in the Korean War. Westermann established his artistic career in Chicago in the 1950s with exhibitions at the Allan Frumkin Gallery and won a New Talent Award from Art in America magazine in 1960. In 1961, Westermann left Chicago with his wife Joanna to travel cross-country and eventually settle in Brookfield, Connecticut. There, Westermann continued to make and show his work and spent much of his later life designing and building a family home and studio.

Check out the photo gallery and links below to view some of Westermann's artwork.