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"I'm trying to figure out what I am doing."
-Karl Karhumaa, 2002
Sculptor Karl Karhumaa grew up in a Finnish community on Lake Michigan. His work has been described as both lyrical and powerful. He worked in a variety of media, including wood, bronze, clay, and polyester. His style ranges from traditional figurative, to elongated stylized works, to twisting distortions of the human form. He executed free standing sculpture as well as relief forms. In addition to sculpture, Karhumaa made pottery and ceramic works. Commercially, he was a sculptural stylist for General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Residing in Philadelphia, Karhumaa lived in New Hope during the 1950s and early 1960s while married to Jill Lathrop Karhumaa, granddaughter of painter Willliam Lathrop. Karl Karhumaa taught extensively, including at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He exhibited locally at Phillips' Mill and at the Michener Art Museum, in addition to exhibits at the Reading Public Museum, the Allens Lane Art Center, and West Chester University.
Photograph of Karl Karhumaa by Jack Rosen. Image courtesy of the James A. Michener Art Museum.
Education and Training:
Wayne State University, BFA, Detroit, Michigan, 1946-1949
Syracuse University, MFA, Syracuse, New York, 1950-1953
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Scholarship Student in Sculpture, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1954-1955
Teachers and Influences:
Ivan Mestrouic, Sculptor
Connection to Bucks County:
Karl Karhumaa met Jill Lathrop (granddaughter of William L. Lathrop) while he was teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1953-1954) and she was a student there. After their marriage, the couple lived at Phillips' Mill in New Hope until the mid 1960s.
Colleagues and Affiliations:
Sculptor Harry Rosin was a friend of Karhumaa's and was instrumental in helping him obtain his teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts . Another colleague is Mel Klapholz who lived in Solebury from 1967-1971. Karhumaa served as a judge for the New Hope Bar and Restaurant Association's second sidewalk art show in 1981.
Major Solo Exhibitions:
Garlick Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, 1962
Reading Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania, 1964
Gallery 10, New Hope, Pennsylvania
George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania
Gallery 252, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1968
Ney Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1970
West Chester State College, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1972
Major Group Exhibitions:
Gallery 10, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1956,1957
Gallery 252, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1957-1959, 1965-1966
Ney Gallery, New Hope, 1958, 1968, 1969-1972
Eastern Michigan University Annual, 1962
Group Exhibit of Philadelphia Sculptors, Zaphrir Sculpture Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1967,1968,1970
Fine Arts Faculty Show, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1968
Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, 1968, 1976, 1978, 1979
Charles Fourth Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Art Spirit Gallery, Clinton, New Jersey, 1974
The Woodmere Art Museum, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, 1979
Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1957, 1999
Bucks County Sculpture Show, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1997
Bucks County Invitational V, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2002
Eastern Michigan University Gallery
Mother and Child, commissioned by a group of community citizens headed by Peggy Lewis, donated to the New Hope Historical Society .
Sculpture Outdoors, Temple University Music Festival, 1976
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Employee and student of Ivan Mestrovic, sculptor, 1950-1953
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, teaching assistant, sculpture and student, 1953-1954
Assistant to Joseph Kiselewski, Sculpture, New York, New York, 1954
Denison University, Granville, Ohio, instructor of sculpture, drawing and painting, 1954-1956
Self-employed, sculpture and pottery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1957-1959
New Jersey State Historical Museum, senior preparator, Trenton, New Jersey, 1958-1959
General Motors Technical Center, Warren, Michigan, 1959-1964
Golden Door Gallery, Employee, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1964-1965
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Instructor for Sculpture, 1965-1987
Tyler School of Art, instructor, 1965-1966
Philadelphia College of Art, (University of the Arts), instructor, 1966-1967
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, instructor, 1966-1986
Cheltenham Art Center, instructor, 1967-1978
Kutztown State College, Assistant Professor of Art Education
Tiffany Award in Sculpture, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1955
Patrons' Award for Sculpture, Phillips' Mill 70th Annual Fall Exhibition, 1999
First Prize in Sculpture, Syracuse Museum Regional
Eastern Michigan Invitational Purchase Award
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