(American, 1923–2013) was an extremely versatile painter and sculptor, associated over the course of his career with Pop, Optical, Minimalist, and Conceptual Art. Born in Washington, D.C., Artschwager grew up in New Mexico, and studied chemistry and mathematics at Cornell University. Wounded while fighting in World War II, Artschwager worked as an administrator in Frankfort, and met his wife Elfriede Wejmelka on mission to Vienna. They returned to New York together, where she encouraged him to pursue his interest in his art. In 1949, he joined the studio of French cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant
, but left the next year for a bank job due to financial reasons; his production throughout the 1950s was similarly interrupted, but, while employed, he was able to create a series of furniture.
In the 1960s, Artschwager turned to sculpture, drawing attention to art’s illusionistic properties by painting over found wooden objects with artificial wood grains. He also began to paint naturalistic scenes of buildings, interiors, and figures in grisaille on celetox; these works grew increasingly abstract as Artschwager added illusionary elements that played with the viewer’s perception. Artschwager’s later paintings and sculptures incorporated increasingly diverse materials, such as wood, mirrors, and Formica, as he continued to explore domestic interiors and to push at the laws of perception.
Artschwager’s work has been the subject of numerous important exhibitions, at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The artist died in 2013.