The Milwaukee area is filled with my husband Adolph’s former students. He taught art at UWM for 33 years, and now, eleven years since he retired, they often stop him in the street or at an event to say they studied with him in the ‘60s, or ‘70s, or ‘80s, or ‘90s and loved his classes. They describe his impact on them and the work they’re doing now.
Actually I’m one of Adolph’s former students. I studied with him before he started teaching. That was our original agreement in January, 1960: I’d be his model, and he’d be my teacher. It worked out well for both of us!
What did I learn from him? And why am I asking that question? Maybe because sometimes I wonder what kind of artist I would have been, or whether I would have been one at all, if we had never met.
Adolph taught me to see every image as part of a whole page, to be aware of spatial relationships, to think not only of the images but of the “negative” space between them, of the way the various planes force the viewers’ eyes to move. “Look!” he’d say, “ If you crop it over here on the right, the whole thing becomes three-dimensional!”
He taught me to be aware of the structure underneath, to use the hairline to indicate the shape of the skull, the brows to indicate the upper edge of the eye socket and form of the forehead, the edge of the sleeve to indicate the shape of the wrist.
He taught me not to nitpick. It’s more exciting to catch the essence and to keep the work alive than to make an exact facsimile, which anyway is impossible and meaningless. He taught me to relax, get into the flow, and not worry about the final product.
Basically I learned that it’s all in the seeing. And Adolph has a unique eye. He sees in a glance exactly what’s going on in a work of art. It’s genetic! Though not an artist, his mother would look at a Rembrandt and exclaim, “Oh, it’s that hat that brings you right into the painting!”
I’ve always marveled at that eye of his, and I’ve discovered that his students did too. His students. That’s why Adolph loved teaching. The number of talented young people in his classes amazed him.
Here are the details of the UWM exhibit:
Adolph Rosenblatt and His Students
UWM Peck School of the Arts
Sep 10 - Nov 06, Opening reception, Sep 10, 5-7pm.
INOVA/Arts Center Building, 2nd Floor, 2400 East Kenwood Blvd
Exhibition celebrating work from Professor Emeritus Adolph Rosenblatt and three of his students, Joe Boblick (class of '94), Henry Klimowicz (class of '84), and Adolph's son Eli, who took Adolph’s classes in the early 80’s. HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am - 4 pm.
PHOTOS OF THE SHOW
ABOVE: Details of Oriental Pharmacy Lunch Counter by Adolph Rosenblatt
ABOVE: Paintings by Eli Rosenblatt
ABOVE: Sculptures by Joe Boblick
ABOVE: Corrugated Wall-hangings by Henry Klimowicz