“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
-Henry Ward Beecher
Born in Czechoslovakia, William Pachner studied in Vienna before coming to the United States in 1939 on the eve of World War II, where his anti-fascist illustrations appeared in top national magazines. When he learned in 1945 that every member of his family had been slaughtered in Germany, he left his commercial career and turned to Abstract Expressionism as an outlet for his emotions. Recognized for exceptional color intensity, Pachner’s works often depict erotic and biblical themes. After losing his eyesight and becoming blind later in his career, Pachner also created extensively in black and white. His drawings and paintings contain a paradox of meanings: the form, movement, and gesture affirm vitality, yet they are tinged with horror and violence. Loss and absence—of sight, family, and homeland, alongside the personal and artistic annihilation Pachner has faced—are represented in various configurations unique to each composition.