Karl Dempwolf (1939 – )
Karl Dempwolf was born not far from the North Sea in 1939, in the State of Lower Saxony, in the city of Delmenhorst, Germany. Dempwolf spent his childhood years in Bavaria before immigrating to the United States on the S.S. America in 1954. He attended schools in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley, graduating from Cal State Northridge in 1964 with a B.A. Dempwolf has the distinctive honor of being the first All American athlete at this institution. He continued his education at the Art Center in Los Angeles, and received his Graduate degree from USC in 1974. Eric Rhoads honored him in 2017 with the Plein Air Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015 President Obama presented one of his paintings as a diplomatic gift to Chancellor Angela Merkel (letter from Department of the state is presented below).
The American Arts & Crafts movement has been a major inspiration for Dempwolf. Exponents of the movement professed the idea that Art gives the viewer a much needed spiritual lift. Honoring this innate power to elevate, every painting merited a handcrafted gilded frame. This is a tradition that Dempwolf has followed as a fitting completion for many of his own paintings.
Many artists of the Arts & Crafts era have played a part in shaping Dempwolf’s love for the western landscape, as he notes in his Artist Statement. However, it was the work of the Founding Member of the California Art Club – William Wendt that has influenced and inspired Dempwolf most of all. Dempwolf and many other Artists regard Wendt, who ironically was also a fellow immigrant, as the Dean of the American West’s Plein-air Painters.
The works of art Dempwolf creates are initially Plein Air compositions. Either completed at a quiet sitting, or painstakingly worked to perfection over hours in his private studio, each painting is intended as a fine balance of California Impressionism blended with the Artist’s own unique style of Expressionism. This creative mastery, infused with a passion for painting once expressed by past great Artists such as Edgar Payne, William Wendt, Guy Rose, and others, has forged a new Movement in today’s Fine Art World. We call this movement – “California Expressionism”.
His work is owned by some of the top corporations in the United States, including McGraw Hill Publishers in Cleveland and New York, The National Parks Foundation, and numerous private collections. Karl is a Signature Member of The California Art Club where he also serves as the Club’s Documentarian, an Artist Member of Oil Painters of America, and a Member of The Conservancy Painters.
His many awards include The Prestigious National Parks Foundation Award which he won three times, and which he has come in as finalist every year since first entering in 1989. He was also the Discovery Award Winner for The Art of California Magazine in 1992 and 1993.
His work has been selected to display at The Riverside Museum of Art in Riverside, California, for a year long exhibit called “Legends”.