Nolan/Eckman Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of works from the 1970's by William N. Copley. On view will be paintings and drawings as well as a chessboard entitled "Breton Revisited," a nod to the Surrealist circle's passion for the game. Through his art, Copley tried to convey the uncomplicated sensual joy with which he lived his own life by developing a playful, erotic iconography characterized by bold colors, a heavy, cartoon-like contour line, and an unabashed irreverence towards all matters of taste and morality in his subjects, which ranged from the war of the sexes to mundane objects such as pianos and baby carriages.
Walter Hopps, the late American curator and critic, has called William N. Copley the "crucial link between classical Surrealist art and the new American Pop art." Copley was born in 1919 in New York City and was adopted as an infant by the wealthy owners of the Copley Newspapers. He attended Andover Academy and Yale University and then moved to Los Angeles in the 1940's after serving in Italy and North Africa during World War II. It was during his time in L.A. that he was introduced to Surrealism, a European avant-garde movement practically unheard of at the time in the United States. In 1947, he opened a gallery in Beverly Hills devoted exclusively to the sale and exhibition of Surrealist works by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Roberto Matta, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, René Magritte, among others. Copley closed his gallery a year later after failing to generate much enthusiasm among American collectors, and turned to becoming an artist in his own right. He deepened his friendship with the icons associated with Surrealism when he moved to Paris in 1951, became accepted as a member of the movement, and firmly established his own career as an artist with a solo exhibition at London's Institute of Contemporary Art in 1961. Since then Copley has exhibited extensively internationally, including Documenta 5 and 7, the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and the St. Louis Art Museum. In 1996, Copley passed away at his home in Key West, Florida at the age of 77.