About the paintings of J.E. Knauf, the Arizona Republic’s art critic, Kyle Lawson, recently said “…the faces are inescapable…Like John Singer Sargent, Knauf sees beyond the skin and sinew.” The figures in the painting are “…alive.” The faces “ represent Knauf’s life……chart where he has been and…provide a glimpse of where he is headed.”
Raised in the beach towns adjoining Los Angeles, J.E. “ Jim” Knauf, (CO 1948-) left California in 1966 to attend art school at Northern Arizona University. While studying the technical aspects of drawing and painting he traveled the back roads of the Navajo, Hopi and Apache reservations and explored Arizona’s rural mining and ranching communities, constantly gathering personal impressions of the West.
In 1970 Knauf transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he studied under contemporary and Avante Garde artists Tony DeLap, Billy Al Benston, Bruce Nauman, Robert Irwin, Vija Clemens and Ed Moses. Earning a Bachelors Degree in painting, he spent his post graduate year exploring the art and architecture of Mexico, Europe and North Africa.
Like many others, on his journey to become a fine artist, Knauf has found himself engaged in a remarkable number of occupations including product designer, manufacturer, restauranteur and for many years a successful landscape architect and contractor. In every endeavor his interest in art has served him well.
In 1994 Knauf began painting full time and today his work appears to be having an increasing influence on collectors of Southwestern Art. His paintings of Native Americans and Cowboys combine original technique, powerful figures and illusive backdrops with a wholly contemporary command of the paint.
Knauf is a founding member of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WEST, a distinguished group of contemporary Southwestern artists currently exhibiting paintings at museums around the country.
His work has been showcased in numerous publications including cover artist for Southwest Art Magazine and U.S. Art Gallery. He is represented in major private and corporate collections and is currently on exhibit in art galleries in Scottsdale, Jackson, Santa Fe, Palm Desert, Las Vegas and Cody. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Elaine and sons Noah and Trevor.