Ed Paschke’s influence on the Chicago art scene is undeniable and since our founding Wright has taken a special interest in the celebration and preservation of his legacy. From edition works to one-of-a-kind paintings, Wright has featured the art of Paschke in more than a dozen auctions to great success.
Life is very much about rule-breaking, about confrontation. Otherwise history would just stand still.
Works on Paper
They either love it or hate it but
rarely are they indifferent to it.
Ed Paschke 1939–2004
Nicknamed Mr. Chicago, Ed Paschke was born on the north side of the city in 1939. He attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), earning his BFA in 1961. Like many of his contemporaries, he made a living designing department store window displays and selling illustrations to various publications including Playboy. In 1962, Paschke was drafted into the army and stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana where his primary responsibility was drawing guns and bullets for weapons manuals, subject matter that would surface in his artwork later in life. Upon returning to Chicago, he reenrolled at SAIC and earned his MFA in 1970. During this time, he visited Andy Warhol’s first museum exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The exhibit had a profound effect Paschke, who viewed Warhol’s critical acclaim as validation for the Pop- Art influenced paintings that he was creating.
Paschke’s work was highly figural, based off of collages he composed using vintage photographs, magazine clippings and advertisements. Themes of violence, satire and gritty, subculture characters painted in vibrant colors dominated his canvases. In the early 70s, Paschke began showing at the Hyde Park Art center with a group of like-minded creatives, dubbed the Chicago Imagists. He had his first solo exhibition at the MCA in 1972, followed by a show at the Whitney Biennale in 1973 as well as exhibitions at numerous commercial galleries in Chicago and New York. In 1976 he started teaching at Northwestern University where he was known as supportive and generous mentor, often inviting students to his Rogers park studio and allowing them to contribute to his paintings. As technology changed, Paschke gathered visual influences from television and video. His compositions simplified, and the hard edges that defined his early paintings started to blur slightly, as if his subjects diffused electrical energy. His final paintings illustrated cultural figures painted on a monumental scale, their faces stretched and obscured by hazy neon patterns. Paschke died suddenly in 2004 at the age of 65. He remains one of Chicago’s most famous artists and influential figures. His artwork is housed in countless private collections and institutions around the world including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Auction Results Ed Paschke