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Born on this day
Herva Nelli
2nd week in year
9 January 2018

Important personalitiesBack

Ian Hornak9.1.1944

Wikipedia (12 Mar 2013, 15:23)

Ian Hornak (January 9, 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – December 9, 2002, Southampton, New York) was an American draughtsman, painter and printmaker and one of the founding artists of the Hyperrealist and Photorealist art movements.


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to parents who immigrated from Slovakia, Ian Hornak moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of 2 and then relocated with his family to Mount Clemens, Michigan at age 8. At age 9 he received a set of oil paints and a book of important Renaissance paintings from his mother as a gift and immediately began copying the works of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael Sanzio. During an interview with the 57th Street Review in 1976, Hornak remarked "I picked up my technique as a child through my interest in art and copying paintings I liked. I especially loved Renaissance painting, because it had clarity and simplification of form and great organization." Upon graduating from High School in New Haven, Hornak relocated to Detroit and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and later received his BFA and MFA at Wayne State University where he taught for a short time.

Hornak produced Hyper-Realistic and Photorealist artwork with surreal overtones in the midst of the pop art movement. He was introduced into the New York art scene in 1968 by Pop Artist, Lowell Blair Nesbitt, with whom Hornak lived and worked with until 1969. By 1971, he maintained his primary residence and studio in East Hampton, NY and a secondary penthouse studio in New York City at 116 East 73rd Street near the corner of Park Avenue. While living in East Hampton, Hornak came to work with and befriend renown art world figures, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Fairfield Porter.

In 1969, Hornak was exhibiting his artwork in New York at Eleanor Ward's Stable Gallery and in 1970 upon the suggestion of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's Nephew, Jason McCoy (assistant director of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery), he entered into an exclusive contract with the Tibor de Nagy Gallery on West 57th Street (Manhattan), a relationship that produced the artists first New York Solo exhibition in 1971. Hornak remained with the Tibor de Nagy Gallery until 1977 and in 1978 chose the Fischbach Gallery of West 57th Street (Manhattan) in New York to be his primary gallery, a partnership that lasted until 1984. Jimmy Ernst, in 1984 gave his recommendation for Hornak to be represented by the Armstrong Gallery on 57th Street (Manhattan), where he soloed in 1985. In 1986, he entered into an exclusive contract with the Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery of SoHo and latter East 57th Street (Manhattan) where he remained until his death in 2002.

Hornak's early works were pen & ink drawings and acrylic paintings of floating figures both clothed and nude, in addition to an erotic art series. In 1970, Hornak began to produce primarily traditional landscapes in addition to conceptual multiple exposure landscapes in the medium of acrylic, pen & ink and or pencil. From 1985 until 2002 he produced Dutch & Flemish-inspired botanical and still life paintings with 4-6 inch painted frames where the artist extended the imagery of the primary painting onto the frame itself. Author and Poet Gerrit Henry said of these works in Art in America Magazine in 1994: "Hornak is a rather self-explanatory if not wholly tautological postmodernism. Perhaps, though, his excesses ring true for the approaching millennium: this is "end-time" painting that exercises its romantic license to the fullest in its presentation of multiple styles of the last fin de siecle - naturalist, symbolist, allegorical, apocalyptic." Throughout his career Hornak's instruments of choice were the brush, pencil and pen; never did he resort to the creation of mixed media works or employ the use such devices as the airbrush. The artist often cited the Hudson River School artists as major influences, especially Martin Johnson Heade and Frederic Edwin Church in addition to Nineteenth-Century German Romantic Artist, Caspar David Friedrich.

Ian Hornak suffered an aortic aneurysm on November 17, 2002 while painting in his studio in East Hampton, New York. Though Hornak was immediately rushed to the Southampton Hospital in New York and surgery was performed to repair the aorta, he died on December 9, 2002 as a result of complications from the surgery. He was 58 years old.

In 2007, Hornak's personal papers and effects were organized by his nephew, Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz and inducted into the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art and in 2010-2011 under Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz's direction Hornak's work was inducted into the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and the Library of Congress. In 2012, Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz and Natasha (née Gavroski) Hornak Spoutz organized an additional portion of Hornak's papers and personal effects for induction into the permanent collection of Dartmouth College's Rauner Special Collections Library.

On January 21, 2011 under the direction of Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz, Hornak was interred in a private section (not accessible by the public) of the Great Mausoleum in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale in California.

A traveling retrospective exhibition of his artwork will take place at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, California in 2012, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the Eccles Building located in Washington D.C. in 2012-2013 and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland in 2013.

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