Elmer Bischoff. Breakfast Clubs and Evening Drawing
Often portraying figures in isolation, Elmer Bischoff’s expressions of solitude suggest that being alone is fundamental to being human.1 But throughout his career, Bischoff consistently fostered camaraderie with fellow artists, companionships that supported and challenged his deeply expressive art practice. When he first joined the faculty at the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) in 1946, Bischoff regularly got together with Hassel Smith and Richard Diebenkorn for vigorous drawing sessions he likened to “workouts at the gym.”2 Returning to the faculty for a second time in 1956, he began attending Wednesday evening drawing sessions that Theophilus Brown, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, and Paul Wonner hosted at the 2571 Shattuck Avenue complex in Berkeley, where several of them and eventually Bischoff himself had studio space. Later, when Bischoff began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1960s, he cofounded Friday breakfast meetings, with other artists teaching at Berkeley along with some students, that came to be known as the Berkeley Artists Breakfast Club.