Edward Hagedorn Biography

Edward Hagedorn




Painter, printmaker and illustrator Edward Hagedorn was born on January 26, 1902, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his artistic career at the age of sixteen when he enrolled in the San Francisco Art Association, followed by classes at the California School of Fine Art (now the San Francisco Art Institute), attending for three years. In 1927 he held his first solo exhibition at the Oakland Art Gallery to critical acclaim and some scandal, as he featured studies of the female nude, and in an Expressionist style that was still controversial in the US.  It's thought that he then relocated briefly to New York. Despite consistent interest shown by gallerists and art dealers, as well as honors recieved in Brooklyn Museum and at the Pennsylvania Academy, he did not pursue leads that may have improved his recognition in the art world.

Profoundly influenced by the German Expressionists, likely due to exposure to the works of Hans Hoffman and Alfred Neumeyer during their time at Mills College, Hagedorn's early work often presents strong commentary on war through powerful, emotional imagery. Having lived through the First World War as a teenager and observing the unfolding of Spanish Civil War and then the Second World War as he entered his 20s and 30s, these decades would prove to be his most prolific period of creative expression. Under the auspices of the Federal Art Project's Works Progress Administriation in the Bay Area, he produced a large body of linocuts and metal relief prints, and in 1938 he was given a show at DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, but by 1940 Hagedorn, a known recluse, stopped participating in public exhibitions. In 1958 he collaborated with San Francisco Beat writer Kenneth Rexroth on publishing an illustrated edition of The Fourteen Poems of O.V. De L. Milsov.

He was included in survey exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago and was included in the exhibition America in the War. His work is included in the collections of the Oakland Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Norton Simon Museum, the de Young Museum and the University Art Museum in Berkeley.

Edward Hagedorn died on December 14, 1982, in Berkeley, California.