Photo: Niku Kashef
Born in Chicago in 1918, as June Claire Kline, she quit high school at 15 years old to become an artist and had her first solo show-a series of abstract pointillist paintings-in the city at the Boulevard Gallery in 1935. On the strength of that show, she was invited to Mexico City by the Department of Education to create and install an exhibition in the Ministry of Public Administration alongside the works of Diego Rivera at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Waiting for Newspapers
Oil on canvas
Oil on Canvas
36 x 30 inches
As I explored opportunities for women during the early years of the twentieth century in my doctoral thesis, Wayne's experiences seemed to further prove it was difficult for female artists to work independently and to exhibit their work. She recalled in an interview with Betty Hoag, "...in those days one of the reasons it was easy to get on the project is that government really didn't take seriously that any art was going to come out of it. It was "made" work in which categories of people got jobs, but nobody really took the job seriously."
Despite the limitations of the era, Wayne painted and explored, refining her technique in lithography, the process of printing from a plane surface (as a smooth stone or metal plate) on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area ink-repellent.
After the war, in 1945, Wayne settled permanently in Los Angeles. She incorporated techniques she learned at CalTech and developed a body of work that anticipated POP and OP art incorporating invented images suggesting nuclear fission and the atom bomb. Wayne produced a series of lithographs -- the Kafka Series and the Justice Series. She was ready to embark on the next body of work, a collection based on the poems of John Donne. Erotic in nature, her California printer balked and, frustrated, Wayne looked to other options. En route to Paris to work with the renowned printer Marcel Durassier, at a layover in New York she met Mac Lowry of the Ford Foundation. Irked by the lack of creative collaborative support available to artists in the States, Wayne asserted her feelings. Intrigued, Lowry asked her to keep in touch. "I remember saying to him: No wonder Picasso was so prolific. Anything he wanted to do, there was an army of craftsmen to fabricate it or him.They had a tradition of collaborative practices. We don't have that here."
The Final Jury
June Wayne Collection, Louis Stern Fine Arts
Grande Vague Noire (Black Tidal Wave)
Woven at Atelier de Saint Cyr
Delegate Dorothy from The Dorothy Series
Color lithograph printed by Edward Hamilton.
In the late 70s Wayne created The Dorothy Series, a traveling exhibition of 20 lithographs, accompanied by a video presentation that appeared in museums across the country. The combination of ephemeral-sequential imagery of narrative in collage from letters, documents, newspaper clippings, and old photographs that narrated the life of her mother, a traveling corset saleswoman.
Wayne was also involved in the feminist art movement in Los Angeles in the 70s. Her biggest contribution to the movement was in education, as Wayne taught a series of professionalization seminars entitled "Joan of Art" to young women artists beginning around 1971. Wayne's seminars covered various topics related to being a professional artist, such as pricing work and approaching galleries, and involved role-playing and discussion sessions. They also encouraged giving back to the feminist community since graduates of Wayne's seminars were required to then teach the seminars to other women. Wayne, along with fellow artists Shelia Levrant de Bretteville, and Ruth Weisberg founded the Los Angeles Council of Women in the Arts which sought the equal representation of women artists in museum exhibitions. In addition, Wayne was also part of the selection committee for the exhibition Contemporary Issues: Works on Paper by Women, which opened at the Los Angeles Woman's Building in 1977, featuring the works of over 200 women artists.
June Wayne Collection, Louis Stern Fine Arts
Acrylic and silver leaf on paper marouflaged onto canvas
with gesso and gelatin
72 x 54 inches
Wayne's art has been exhibited all over the world and is part of several museum collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Norton Simon Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design, Moore College of Art and Design, California College of Arts and Crafts, and The Atlanta College of Fine Arts.
In 2002, Wayne became a research professor at the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper. Wayne also donated a group of over 3,300 prints, both her work and the work of other artists, to the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, which established the June Wayne Study Center and Archives to house the collection.
Wayne passed away at her Tamarind Avenue studio in Hollywood, CA on August 23, 2011 with her daughter and granddaughter by her side._____________________________________________________________________________
HYPERALLERGIC, Alicia Eler, June Wayne's Farewell, June 23, 2014, http://hyperallergic.com/129722/june-waynes-farewell/, retrieved November 24, 2015
The Creative Cosmos of June Wayne, Lynell George, KCET, Artbound, http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/june-wayne-pasadena-museum-of-california-art.html, retrieved November 24, 2015.
Yesterday and Tomorrow: California Women Artists, Sylvia Moore, ed., Midmarch Arts Books, New York, 1989, p. 15-159.
The New York Times, June Wayne, Painter and Printmaker dies at 93, William Grimes, August 22, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/arts/june-wayne-painter-and-printmaker-dies-at-93.html?_r=0
The Los Angeles Times, June Wayne dies at 93; led revival of fine-art print making, Mary Rourke, August 25, 2011,
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/25/local/la-me-june-wayne-20110825, retrieved November 24, 2015.
The June Wayne Collection, http://www.junewayne.com/about.php, retrieved November 24, 2015.