Fine Arts Museum News

Wild Life Captured: Woodcuts by Elliot Offner

Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts

March 26, 2009

Woodcuts by the American painter, sculptor and printmaker Elliot Offner will be on view from April 7 through September 27, 2009, at the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in the exhibition Wild Life Captured.

The exhibition features woodcut prints that the artist created during the 1970s and 1980s while teaching at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. As a child, Offner was fascinated by the movement of animals and observed them very carefully. In these images, Offner explored some of his favorite subject matter, including the whooping crane, porcupine, turkey, monarch butterfly, and the unusual trees on the campus of Smith College.


Many of the works in the exhibition are artist’s proofs, or “works in progress.” When available, several versions of each image are displayed to illustrate Offner’s artistic process. The D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts also owns several sculptures by Offner, including Leaning Heron and Angel Fish. Both are on view in the Springfield Museums’ Welcome Center. 


Offner is considered one of the most celebrated and talented realist artists working in America today. His keen interest in nature inspired him to enter the studio program at Cooper Union, in New York City, in 1949. He continued his studies at Yale University, earning a B.F.A and an M.F.A. It was there that he solidified his commitment to creating sculpture.


Offner was appointed to the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 1959. A year later he was offered a position at Smith College, and from 1974 to 2004, Offner served as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities. The artist’s extensive list of awards and exhibitions demonstrates his passion for creating artwork inspired by nature. He was awarded the National Sculpture Society’s Medal of Honor in 2007.

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