Jack Zajac Biography

Jack Zajac





Jack Zajac, painter, printmaker and sculptor, was born on 13 December 1929 in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1946, his family moved to Southern California where Zajac, after completing high school, worked at the Kaiser Steel Mill to finance his art studies at Scripps College in Claremont, California. He was admitted to the women's college in 1949 under the advisement of Millard Sheets who was impressed by the raw energy of the student's paintings. Zajac completed his studies there in 1953.

In 1950, Zajac was awarded a California State Scholarship in Painting and, in 1954, he received the Rome Prize Fellowship. While in Rome he discovered his passion for sculpture. Zajac received the prize again in 1956 and 1957, a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1958, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1959-1960. His work was selected by the American Federation of Arts for the traveling exhibition New Talent U.S.A. in 1956 and that same year he was included in Recent Drawings, U.S.A. at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1957 his work was featured in Young America at the Whitney Museum of American Art and, in 1959, in Recent Sculpture U.S.A. at the Museum of Modern Art.

Zajac was an instructor at Pomona College in 1959 and, in 1974, he began teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is Professor Emeritus. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was elevated to Academician in the National Academy of Design in 1994.

There have been numerous solo exhibitions of his work in galleries and museums, and retrospective exhibitions of his work were mounted in 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1975. Jack Zajac’s work is represented in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, Colorado; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii; the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California; the Getty, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; the San Diego Museum of Art, California; the San Jose Museum of Art, California; the Santa Barbara Museum, California; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.