William Scharf

Imagining the Actual

October 13 – November 12, 2016

William Scharf, Young Shepherd Moves His Sheep Away From The Storm, 2007

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Young Shepherd Moves His Sheep Away From The Storm, 2007
Acrylic on paper, 9 × 12 inches
SOLD

William Scharf, Top Sphinx, 1956

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Top Sphinx, 1956
Oil on canvas, 43 x 59 inches
Signed lower left: "Wm. Scharf"
Titled and dated on verso: "TOP SPHINX / 1956"

William Scharf, To A Dead Poet, 1956

William Scharf (b. 1927)
To A Dead Poet, 1956
Oil on canvas, 38 x 52 inches
Signed and dated verso: "W. Scharf / 1956"

William Scharf, Of the Square and by the Night, 1956

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Of the Square and by the Night, 1956
Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
SOLD

William Scharf, Untitled (Cut-Out), 1961

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Untitled (Cut-Out), 1961
Colored pencil on paper, 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches
Signed and dated lower right: "W. Scharf 1961"
Dated and inscribed on verso: "1961 D 3905"

William Scharf, The Hero's Step, 1962

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Hero's Step, 1962
Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
SOLD

William Scharf, Watched White, 1965

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Watched White, 1965
Gouache on paper, 11 x 13 7/8 inches
Inscribed, titled, and dated verso: "BOX 14 / 'Watched White ' / 342? / July 1965"
SOLD

William Scharf, The Hen Lady, 1969

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Hen Lady, 1969
Gouache on paper, 17 1/2 x 12 5/8 inches
Dated, inscribed, titled, and signed verso: "1969 . G. 329 / The Hen Lady / WM. Scharf 1969"

William Scharf, Untitled, circa 1970

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Untitled, circa 1970s
Acrylic on Masonite, 8 1/2 x 13 inches

William Scharf, Untitled, circa 1970s

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Untitled, circa 1970s
Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 15 3/8 inches
Inscribed on stretcher verso: "TOP"

William Scharf,  Madonna Sphynx, 1970-71

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Madonna Sphynx, 1970-71
Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 13 inches
Signed and dated verso: "Wm. Scharf / 1971"
Titled and dated on stretcher verso: "'MADONNA SPHYNX' / 1970 1971"

William Scharf, The Sun Arch & The Ice Bride Are Above The Lilac Walk, 1979

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Sun Arch & The Ice Bride Are Above The Lilac Walk, 1979
Acrylic on Masonite, 36 x 66 inches

William Scharf, Arched Annunciation, 1979

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Arched Annunciation, 1979
Colored marker on paper, 8 1/2 x 7 inches
Initialed lower left: "WS"
Inscribed lower right: "ANNUNCIATION"
Dated, inscribed, signed, and titled on verso: "1979 / D.2668 / WM Scharf ARCHED ANNUNCIATION"

William Scharf, At the Forgiving, 1980s

William Scharf (b. 1927)
At the Forgiving, 1980s
Acrylic on canvas, 69 x 139 1/2 inches

William Scharf, Untitled, 1985

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Untitled, 1985
Color pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 inches
Signed lower left: "W Scharf"
Inscribed lower right: "7 1/8 x 8 5/8"
Numbered, inscribed, signed, and dated verso: "#1, / 1985 D873 / Savannah, Ga. / WM Scharf / Savannah, Ga. 1985"

William Scharf, Untitled, 1985

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Untitled, 1985
Colored pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 inches
SOLD

William Scharf, Of Menaced Madness, 1986

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Of Menaced Madness, 1986
Acrylic on canvas, 67 1/2 x 75 1/2 inches
Dated and signed verso: "1986 / WM. Scharf"
Titled, insribed, signed and dated on stretcher verso: "'OF MENACED MADNESS' 67 1/2" x 75 1/2" WILLIAM SCHARF 1986"
Private collection

William Scharf, Green Bridge, 1986

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Green Bridge, 1986
Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 32 inches
Titled, signed, and dated verso: "'GREEN BRIDGE' / William Scharf / 1986"

William Scharf, The Giver Threatened, 1993

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Giver Threatened, 1993
Acrylic on canvas, 68 x 77 inches
Signed and dated verso: "WM. SCHARF / 1993"
Titled, signed, and dated on stretcher verso: "'THE GIVER THREATENED' / WILLIAM SCHARF 1993"
Collection of Mr. Christopher Rothko

William Scharf, The Arches Ladder, 1992

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Arches Ladder, 1992
Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 102 inches
SOLD

William Scharf, The Magic Fragments, 1997

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Magic Fragments, 1997
Acrylic on Bainbridge Board, 12 x 15 inches
Inscribed, titled, dated, and signed verso: "A. 931 / THE MAGIC FRAGMENTS / Feb 1997 / SLIDE / William / Scharf / SHOWN / 1998 / P.K."

William Scharf, The Martyr's Ladder and The Harm Angel, 1998-2002

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Martyr's Ladder and The Harm Angel, 1998-2002
Acrylic on canvas,69 x 47 inches
Signed verso: "WM Scharf"
SOLD

William Scharf, A Pending Sorrow, Totem and the Ice Shoal, A Wile After Goya, (From left to right), 2000, 2001, 2002-7 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
A Pending Sorrow, Totem and the Ice Shoal, A Wile After Goya, (From left to right), 2000, 2001, 2002-7 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, In a Cloy of Sky, Angel of Tongues, Sun Edge Shower (From left to right), 2000, 2001, 2002 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
In a Cloy of Sky, Angel of Tongues, Sun Edge Shower (From left to right), 2000, 2001, 2002 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, On the Ether Swing, On to Adjacency, Gull White (From left to right), 2000-1, 2000, 2001-2 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
On the Ether Swing, On to Adjacency, Gull White (From left to right), 2000-1, 2000, 2001-2 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, To Golden Wreath, The Geometric Smile, On the Trance Branch (From left to right), n.d., 2001, 2007 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
To Golden Wreath, The Geometric Smile, On the Trance Branch (From left to right), n.d., 2001, 2007 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, Planted Heart, Negligee of Snow, An Amulet for a da Vinci (From left to right), 2005, 2004, 2002-6 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Planted Heart, Negligee of Snow, An Amulet for a da Vinci (From left to right), 2005, 2004, 2002-6 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, The Sigh Weapons, 2002-6

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Sigh Weapons, 2002-6
Acrylic on canvas, 56 x 32 inches
Signed, titled, and dated on stretcher verso: "WILLIAM SCHARF 'THE SIGH WEAPONS' / 2002-2006"
Signed on verso: "William / Scharf"

William Scharf, Vernal Equinox, Shrine Climb, On the Path's Map (From left to right), 2005

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Vernal Equinox, Shrine Climb, On the Path's Map (From left to right), 2005
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, The Heaven Hole, Whale Gold, Bow Gold Wing Black (From left to right), 2005, 2004-5, 2006 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Heaven Hole, Whale Gold, Bow Gold Wing Black (From left to right), 2005, 2004-5, 2006 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, The Priestess Wore Herself, 2005-2007

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Priestess Wore Herself, 2005-2007
Acrylic on canvas, 70 x 45 inches
Titled, signed, and dated on stretcher verso: "'THE PRIESTESS WORE HERSELF' / WILLIAM SCHARF / 2005-2007"
Signed verso: "WM. Scharf"

William Scharf, The White Elephant Lies Down, 2007

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The White Elephant Lies Down, 2007
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 12 inches
Inscribed, titled, signed, and dated verso: "A 1636 / THE WHITE / ELEPHANT / LIES DOWN / WM Scharf / 2007 SAG HARBOR"

William Scharf, Under Salted Sails, 2008

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Under Salted Sails, 2008
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 12 inches
Inscribed, titled, signed, and dated verso: "A 1657 / SALTED WINDS / UNDER / SALTED / SAILS / WM Scharf / A1657 / SAG HARBOR / 2008"
SOLD

William Scharf, Eclipse Finds the Golden Ladder, 2008

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Eclipse Finds the Golden Ladder, 2008
Acrylic on canvas, 33 x 58 inches
Titled and signed on stretcher verso: "THE ECLIPSE FINDS THE GOLDEN LADDER / WILLIAM SCHARF"
Signed and dated verso: "WM. Scharf  / 2008"
SOLD

William Scharf, The Golden Anchor Escapes, 2009-10

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Golden Anchor Escapes, 2009-10
Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 34 inches
Titled on canvas overlap verso: "THE GOLDEN ANCHOR"
Titled and signed on stretcher verso: "THE GOLDEN ANCHOR ESCAPES / WM. SCHARF"
Signed on verso: WM. Scharf"

William Scharf, From Matisse's Balcony, 2011

William Scharf (b. 1927)
From Matisse's Balcony, 2011
Acrylic on canvas, 37 x 30 1/2 inches
Dated, titled, and signed on stretcher verso: "2015 / FROM MATISSE'S BALCONY / WILLIAM SCHARF"
Signed verso: "WM. SCHARF"

William Scharf, The Sun Shines On The Opening Volume, 2011-2012

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Sun Shines On The Opening Volume, 2011-2012
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 12 inches
Inscribed, titled, signed, and dated verso: "A-1809 / THE SUN SHINES / ON / THE / OPENING / VOLUME / WM Scharf / A 1809 / 2011-2012 / A 1809 / 2012 / WM. Scharf"

William Scharf, Self Portrait, 1956

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Self Portrait, 1956
Watercolor and gouache on paper, 9 x 6 inches
Signed and dated lower left: "W. Scharf / Nov 20, 1956"
Dated and inscribed on verso: "1956 . D . 1384"
Collection of the artist

William Scharf, The Night Mare's Acrobat, 5 Loaves + 2 Fish = 7, Quaternity in White (From left to right), 2000, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Night Mare's Acrobat, 5 Loaves + 2 Fish = 7, Quaternity in White (From left to right), 2000, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, Piscinian Smile, Surprise by Pendulum, Tyr Rite (From left to right), 2001, 2000, 2000-1 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Piscinian Smile, Surprise by Pendulum, Tyr Rite (From left to right), 2001, 2000, 2000-1 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, Green Grew the Moss Dew, Blond Lack, Wing Totem (From left to right), 2001, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Green Grew the Moss Dew, Blond Lack, Wing Totem (From left to right), 2001, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, The Postman's Message, Angel Anchor, Torso of the Furnace (From left to right), 2001, 2005, 2006 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Postman's Message, Angel Anchor, Torso of the Furnace (From left to right), 2001, 2005, 2006 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, An Accidental Liking, The Sold Soldier, In the Enmity Tree (From left to right), 2002, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
An Accidental Liking, The Sold Soldier, In the Enmity Tree (From left to right), 2002, 2002, 2000 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, Wisconsin Relics, The Deafened Day, King Fall (From left to right), 2002-4, 2005, 2007 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Wisconsin Relics, The Deafened Day, King Fall (From left to right), 2002-4, 2005, 2007 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf (b. 1927) To Bonnard, The Painter's Terrace, Flowering Phoenix, Hour Rite (From left to right), 2004, 2004, 2001 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
To Bonnard, The Painter's Terrace, Flowering Phoenix, Hour Rite (From left to right), 2004, 2004, 2001 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, Cage's Metal, Omentum Move, In An Earlier Ago (From left to right), 2005, 2006, 2006, (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Cage's Metal, Omentum Move, In An Earlier Ago (From left to right), 2005, 2006, 2006, (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, Cauldron Altar, Irth Hast, The Her Moth (From left to right), 2005-6, 2006, 2007 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Cauldron Altar, Irth Hast, The Her Moth (From left to right), 2005-6, 2006, 2007 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, Spiral Gale, Gray Angel, Wither of Eggs (From left to right), 2006, 2005-6, 2004-6 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Spiral Gale, Gray Angel, Wither of Eggs (From left to right), 2006, 2005-6, 2004-6 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)
SOLD

William Scharf, The Thermometer's Wedding, Another End of Dark, Gold Henge (From left to right), 2006

William Scharf (b. 1927)
The Thermometer's Wedding, Another End of Dark, Gold Henge (From left to right), 2006
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

William Scharf, Admiration of the Frame, In Folded Guilt, The Relics Remember (From left to right), 2006-7, 2003-7, 2002 (From left to right)

William Scharf (b. 1927)
Admiration of the Frame, In Folded Guilt, The Relics Remember (From left to right), 2006-7, 2003-7, 2002 (From left to right)
Acrylic on paper, 9 x 4 inches (each)

Press Release

Hollis Taggart Galleries is pleased to present William Scharf: Imagining the Actual, a retrospective exhibition of the work of visionary painter William Scharf. Selected in collaboration with the artist’s close friends and family, this exhibition reveals the genius of a man whose oeuvre is too little known. Though often grouped with the Abstract Expressionists, the sixty-five works on display will demonstrate how Scharf’s art springs not from collective philosophy, but rather from a very unique artistic vision, one that has fueled Scharf’s oeuvre over a career that spans more than six decades.

The individuality of Scharf’s oeuvre resists art historical categorization. His abstracted compositions of organic and geometric formal elements recall the free associations of Surrealism and the all-over grandeur of Abstract Expressionism, and at the same time embody a very individual and immediately recognizable pictorial sense. Scharf combines virtuoso paint handling, vibrant color, and rich symbolic language in canvases that engage the viewer in a transcendent and emotional dialogue. This dialogue is accomplished in part through recurring symbols, which allude to hidden, mysterious narratives. Scharf plumbs the psychological wells of collective myths for symbolic content: the crown of thorns, the ladder, the fish, and the cross can be found throughout, functioning not, as one might expect, as religious symbols, but rather as a means through which to access a deeper, symbolic level of visual communication.

Born in 1927 in Media, Pennsylvania, Scharf received a formal art training in Philadelphia before moving to New York in 1952, where he has lived and worked ever since. Though he maintained many art-world friendships, most notably a close relationship with Mark Rothko, Scharf’s paintings function on a more personal, mystical level than those of many of his contemporaries. This exhibition turns a retrospective eye on this powerful body of work, following his evolution from midcentury into the new millennium with works that range from diminutive paintings to wall-covering canvases. Throughout, one finds that Scharf’s bold, evocative compositions offer glimpses into a unique artistic mind.

William Scharf: Imagining the Actual is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an insightful essay by Christopher Rothko, whose longstanding friendship with the Scharf family allows a singular perspective on the artist’s work. Rothko is a graduate of Yale University and practiced clinical psychology before devoting himself full-time to managing the legacy of his father, Mark Rothko. He most recently published Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out, a collection of eighteen essays responding to his father’s work.

PRESS CONTACT
Ashley Park
ashleypark@hollistaggart.com
212.628.4000