Joseph Zirker Biography

Joseph Zirker




Joseph Zirker, painter, printmaker, educator, lecturer, was born Irving Joseph to Clarence Harold and Lillian Rappaport Zirker in Los Angeles, California on 13 August 1924. He studied at the University of California at Los Angeles for the academic years 1943-1944 and 1946-1947, and continued his studies receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Denver in 1949 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 1951.

Zirker taught at the University of Southern California, the Hollywood Art Center in Los Angeles, the Chouinard Art Center, and the Los Angeles County Art Institute (formerly known as Otis Art Institute) before moving to Northern California and settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1966, Zirker joined the faculty of San Jose City College and retired in 1984. He also taught a few summer sessions at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon and several summer quarters at Stanford University.

Elected an Associate Member of The National Academy of Design in 1992, Zirker was elevated to full Academician in 1994. Since 1968, his work has been included in numerous solo exhibitions and over the years his work was paired in two-person exhibitions with Misch Kohn, Michael Mazur, William Weege, Bob Nugent, Helen Frederick, and John Anderson. An innovator, Zirker developed the acrylic paint monotype and filed for patents on his processes in 2001.

Joseph Zirker is represented in numerous public collections, including the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts; Brooklyn Museum; Centrum Frans Masereel, Belgium; De Saisset Art Gallery and Museum, University of Santa Clara; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Free Library of Philadelphia; Grunwald Collection, U.C.L.A.; National Academy of Design, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Oakland Museum of California; and the Portland Art Museum.

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