Born in 1922, Horace Clifford “H.C.” Westermann was raised in Los Angeles, California. He served as a Marine in both World War II and the Korean War. Westermann studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and supplemented his income by working as a woodworker and carpenter. His involvement with and love for the craft of woodworking led him to working full time as an artist.
Versatile and Iconoclastic
Westermann produced works in a variety of media, including paintings, woodcuts, drawings, and collage, but he is best known for his highly detailed and impeccably finished wood sculptures and constructions. During his life, Westermann never explained the meaning behind his works, but it is clear that he was heavily influenced by his wartime experience and by his personal feelings on the human condition. Much of his oeuvre can be interpreted as a critique of American military and consumer culture.
Westermann’s output was a great influence on artists from the 1960s and 1970s, including the Chicago Imagists and California Funk artists William T. Wiley and Ken Price. Major retrospectives have been held at museums across the world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.). Westermann died in Danbury, Connecticut in 1981 at the age of 58.Contact a Specialist View all Artists/Makers