Victor Czerkas (1914-2003 )
"At The Drying Rack"
o/c 20" x 24"
$ 8,750

Victor Czerkas (1914-2003 )
"At The Ovens"
o/c, 16" x 20"
$ 6,000

Victor Czerkas (a student of Nicolai Fechin)
     Victor Czerkas was born in Sioux City, Iowa to parents who had emigrated from a small Russian village, near the Polish border, that has long since been obliterated by war. The onset of the Depression in 1930 obligated Victor, at age sixteen, to quit school and begin working for a commercial design company lettering posters and signs for local theaters and businesses. He continued to work in this field throughout the 1930’s supporting himself and, eventually a wife. He had a dream – of course – to go to Hollywood. In Victor’s case, however, he wanted to work in the film industry as an artist, not an actor. He and his wife finally headed west and arrived in San Diego just before Pearl Harbor. He put his graphic artistic skills to work making and lettering signs for Consolidated Aircraft. During the war he had his first real opportunity to study fine art, under Monty Lewis (founder of the Coronado School of Fine Art) who was also working for Consolidated.
     After the War Victor finally made it to Hollywood, but not yet to the movies. He once again found steady work as a graphic artist and continued his fine art studies by attending evening classes at the Chouinard Art Institute where he studied under Lawrence Murphy, Herbert Jepsen and Ben Messick. Victor has stated that he has vivid recollections of Murphy’s composition class, where the instructor told the students to compose a still life from their own creative thought rather than from any model provided to them.
      A second considerable influence was Nicolai Fechin, with whom Victor studied in Los Angeles in the late 1940’s. Fechin’s dynamic use of color, as well as his impressionistic style, particularly impressed Victor. It was Fechin who introduced Victor to Taos and encouraged him to paint the Indians and the Pueblos of the Southwest.
     In the early 1950’s, Victor’s dream of working in the movie industry was realized and both movie and television studios subsequently benefited from his talents. Starting in the late 1960’s, however, and continuing until his retirement just a few years ago; he tried to put more and more time into his own painting. His choice of subjects was always strictly personal, painting the subjects of interest to him at any particular time. He has painted all over the western U.S. and Canada. His paintings are done outside almost exclusively "on site" but "recomposed" following the techniques of Lawrence Murphy.
     As Victor stated: "Although I work on location, I still am using Murphy’s principle. I wouldn’t take a scene that is in front of me and make a photo-like reproduction of it. I can look at it and start painting a creation of my own. And here is where true composition starts. You can take any scene, but … you have to imagine it – recompose it, really – to give it movement, as well as to balance color and composition. That is what makes a creative painting. I could copy it like a photograph, but that is not what I want. There would be no feeling to such
a painting." 1
     Victor Czerka’s "feel" for the pueblo at Taos is a marvelous statement of his artistic sensitivity, training, and of his ability. We have two truly enjoyable works:
"At the Drying Rack" (Taos Pueblo), o/c, 20" x 24", $ 8,750
"At the Ovens" (Taos Pueblo), o/c, 16" x 20", $ 6,000

1 David Thompson, Southwest Art, June, 1976 " Victor Czerkas – An Independent, Honest Artist", p. 47

Additional works available, please enquire

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