Claire Falkenstein Biography

Claire Falkenstein

American

1908-1997

Biography

Claire Falkenstein, sculptor, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Coos Bay, Oregon on July 22, 1908. She came to California about 1926 and graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1930. In the 1930s Falkenstein opened her first solo show at the East-West Gallery in San Francisco and taught in Berkley at the Anna Head School and the University of California. She studied sculpture with Alexander Archipenko at Mills College during the summer of 1933. In 1934 she married Richard McCarthy and was also known as Claire McCarthy. She made her first prints in 1940 when she studied with Stanley William Hayter when he taught a course at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. She returned to study at Atelier 17 in Paris in the 1950s.

Falkenstein taught drawing at Mills College from 1945 to 1948 and began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts in 1947. She visited Paris in 1950 and decided to stay, opening her studio on the Left Bank. In Paris, she worked on her metal sculpture and developed experimental collagraphs at Atelier 17. She returned to California in 1962, settling in Venice and focused her energies on large site sculptures.

The Palm Springs Desert Museum mounted a large retrospective of her work in 1980 and she is included in museum collections internationally.

Claire Falkenstein died in Venice, California on October 23, 1997.