During Ed Kieffer’s fifty year career as a professional artist, his works have been dispersed into museums and private collections all over the USA and in Europe. Here at The Bohemian in Cedar Rapids, Iowa we are pleased to present and share with our café patrons the largest collection of Edwin Kieffer paintings gathered into one single collection in any one location. Kieffer lived, worked and painted the vibrant life around him in the Jazz scenes of New Orleans, Paris and New York. For decades, Kieffer and his family lived the bohemian lifestyle expressed in his art. Images of the café and jazz club milieu of these iconic cities capture the essence of the Bohemian Esthetic. We bring that creative and social spark to life in a contemporary setting here at The Bohemian. Enjoy!
The Keiffer Collection is presented here on the South wall of the Café Room at The Bohemian.
Ed Keiffer grew up in New Orleans in the 1920s, and the color, the beauty, and the intoxicating rhythms of the Crescent City glow through his paintings. So does the gritty vitality of its street-corner bons vivants and ladies of the night. As an intelligent and curious child, Keiffer observed the bawdy world around him, absorbed the music of jazz legends like Louis Armstrong and Ma Rainey, and dreamed of becoming a painter. Fortunately for us, Ed realized his dream.
When World War II broke out, he joined the Marines and spent five years at war; much of it in bloody Pacific theater combat. In 1945, with peace declared and with GI Bill education funds, Ed headed for New York and enrolled in the Art Students’ League. Ed Kieffer studied art with Willem De Kooning, Morris Kantor and Vaclav Vytlacil. After completing his studies in 1949, he stayed on in New York for another 10 years, teaching art to children at the East Side Settlement House and helping to launch its famed Winter Antiques Show. It was during this period that he began the work for which he is best known — and to which he returned again and again throughout his career: large, vibrant acrylics portraying the heyday of New Orleans jazz and night life.
Later, Ed studied at La Grande Chaumiere in Paris, then settled his family in Rhode Island, with extended periods of painting in Mexico, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. From these places emerged landscapes, still lifes and nudes that exhibit the same qualities he brought to his jazz paintings: a superb, Fauve inspired color sense, an eye for the elegant details of everyday life, and a firm grounding in the New Orleans philosophy of letting the good times roll. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Ed lived life with joy and enthusiasm, and that attitude poured out of his brush.
Kieffer and his family lived a bohemian life style in New York, Europe and at his rural retreat/studio in Rhode Island until his death in 1997. Many of the youth that Ed had mentored at the East side Settlement House of New York City traveled to his funeral in Rhode Island to share fond memories of their inspiring teacher. Many of his former students had now achieved success as adults and Ed was recognized an important part of their personal development. Ed Kieffer is remembered as an artist with a life as colorful and vibrant as his paintings.
Exhibitions (a representative selection)
Addison Gallery, Andover, Massachusetts
Art USA, New York
Audubon Artists, New York
Bristol Art Museum, Rhode Island
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio (10-year Retrospective, 1990)
Detroit Art Institute
Ferry Road Gallery, Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Galerie Philadelphia, Paris
New Haven Arts Festival
New York City Center
Newport Art Association, Rhode Island
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Providence Art Club, Rhode Island
Silvermine Guild of Artists, Connecticut
The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida
University of Rhode Island, Providence
Dorothy Rogers Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
A Selection of Permanent Collections
Addison Gallery, Andover, Massachusetts
Infoplan, Inc., New York
Interpublic, Inc., London
Brockton Art Museum, Massachusetts
Hale, Grant, Myerson & O’Brien, New York
Citizens Savings Bank, Providence, Rhode Island
Dorothy Rogers Gallery, Santa Fe NM
The Bohemian, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Ⓒ2017 Prometheus, Inc.