Walter Pashko (American, 1930–2006)
Sheet: 72.7 x 57.5 cm (28 5/8 x 22 5/8 in.) Framed: 78.3 x 63 x 5.1 cm (30 13/16 x 24 13/16 x 2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Mixed media on paper
Not On View
Walter Pashko studied painting in Hartford during the heyday of Chick Austin who made modern art, especially Surrealism, a great strength of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The GI Bill enabled him to go to Mexico City where he sought out artists who could teach him the techniques of fresco and mosaic. During his years there, he also learned how to make prints. Upon his return to America, he found a job at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts as an assistant to the printmaking instructor. Pashko was soon promoted to lead instructor when his supervisor retired. He remained at the School for over thirty years until a fall prompted him to retire in the early 1990s. Though he taught printmaking, Pashko regarded himself primarily as a painter and draftsman. He remained active in his retirement, producing the present works during his early seventies.
The present work is dominated by a cool blue field that emerges from a warm, earth-toned surrounding. This contrast is just one of many that Pashko incorporates into this drawing. He juxtaposes firm wiry black pencil lines with long, diffuse trails of softly smudged color. The blue and purplish-brown fields are on separate sheets of paper. Much of the blue area is in a plane behind the brown field, but part of it projects forward in front of the brown. The contour of the opening in the brown area is partly the product of sharp-edged cuts and partly of careful tearing that lays bare the internal layers of the thick paper.
Though truly abstract–indeed reminiscent of the early work of Mark Rothko–the present drawing is based on observation of patterms made by water on a sandy beach. It invites meditation on vast landscapes. By turns, the blue may become a glacier, a lake, or a brilliant patch of sky glimpsed through a canyon. Pashko’s open-ended approach leaves the dreaming to the viewer, but his poetic art provides the inspiration.
The artist; Victoria Munroe Fine Art (Boston, MA) from whom purchased by MFA 25 January 2006.
Thomas E. Rassieur Fund
Reproduced with Permission