KOPPE, Richard. [Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts]: RICHARD KOPPE. Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, October 1962.

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RICHARD KOPPE

Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, October 1962

[Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts]: RICHARD KOPPE. Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, October 1962. First edition [Bulletin no. 6]. Slim quarto. Printed stapled thick wrappers. 12 pp. 15 black and white illustrations. Uncoated wrappers lightly sunned, but a nearly fine copy.

8.375 x 10.75 stapled catalog of the exhibition held at the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts from October 28 to November 25, 1962. Combining aspects of Cubism and Surrealism, Koppe explored line, color, composition and space, producing works that are both playful and intricate. Koppe's rigorous experimentation with form, mastery of diverse media and interest in design reflect his experience as a student of transplanted European modernists like László Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Archipenko at Chicago's New Bauhaus in the late 1930s. Koppe went on to promote the modernist program as Head of Visual Design and Fine Arts at the Institute of Design (ID) at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and later as Professor of Art at UIC.

Architect Robert E. Lederer transformed the basement of Chicago’s Sherman House hotel into The Well of the Sea restaurant in 1948. Richard Koppe, an instructor at the Insitute of Design was assigned by Lederer to design the murals and mobiles for the restaurant.

Koppe used fluorescent paint for the five murals that were then illuminated with invisible black lights for a “dramatic and mysterious effectacross the dim recesses of the interior.” Koppe also designed organic aquatic forms cut out of the walls and backlit with colored lights.

Educator, painter, and sculptor Richard Koppe [United States, 1916-1973] moved to Chicago in 1937, and studied at the New Bauhaus and the School of Design. He became an instructor at the Institute, which merged with the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1946 and remained an Associate Professor and headed the Department of Visual Design until 1963. He then became a professor of Art at the University of Illinois in 1963.

Koppe aquatic abstractions were wildly popular in the 1950s: Shenango China released a full product line based on Koppe’s Dinnerware in 1953, and the popular Libbey Glass Mediterranean pattern was also attributed to Koppe.

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