# Arts in Milwaukee – Jack Jefferson – art
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Jack Jefferson

  • Art
I am an Art Professional

artist bio

​​Jefferson Fine Art ​​​Features:Oil & Mixed Media Paintings, ​
Graphite & Charcoal Drawings and Rare Limited Editions by Nationally Recognized American Artists, Jack A. Jefferson and William H. Jefferson​​​​

Web site: www.jeffersonfineart.com

artist statement

Jack A. Jefferson

“My vocation in art began with the study of the human figure under the tutelage of my late father. We started with comprehensive drawing exercises focused on establishing the scale of the figure's proportions based on the size of the head. From there we moved to the study of human anatomy, where I was taught to develop the subject from the bones, the features, out. This is where I first became introduced to the nude female form and the challenges of accurately rendering it, while capturing the delicate feminine nature of the subject, it soon became my passion.
I do believe there is a point in everyone’s life when they get the opportunity to respond to their creative inner voice. For some, it happens very early. For me, I had to live long enough and experience enough of the good and bad in life to finally listen…and to finally let go. Since that point, the process has felt very natural, as I have focused my energies on self expression with a pencil or a brush.
In retrospect, I feel have been creating paintings like these in my mind all along. The physical act of now placing pigments on canvas is merely an extension of that subconscious act, simple as that.” JJefferson

William H. Jefferson 1917-1996

A descendant of Thomas Jefferson, artist William H. Jefferson was born in Sparta Wisconsin on May 25, 1917, and moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin after his military service during WWII. Prior to the war, Jefferson concentrated on his deep desire to become a successful American artist. Initially, he worked as apprentice to Haddon Sundblom and William Griffith, two legendary Chicago illustrators. Together they taught Jefferson human anatomy, which many artists overlook today.
A crucial point in Jefferson’s development as a fine artist ironically came during his recuperation in a Chicago hospital from the year he endured in a German POW camp. Jefferson fought in the Battle of the Bulge, he was wounded in battle and he and most of his comrades from the US Army 106th Infantry Division were captured when the Germans retreated. Jefferson’s artistic aspirations helped him survive the desperate period of his captivity, as well as his lengthy hospital stay after liberation. It also gave him time to think about a career in the army. Jefferson was promoted to major while hospitalized and received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
“During our captivity we were able to monitor the final stages of the war via a hidden radio. I don’t know how our commanding officer did it but he insisted on having a set of bagpipes to play. The Germans went along with it and at night when everyone thought we were listening to the bagpipes, we were really listening to the BBC broadcasts from London.” Wm. H. Jefferson
After his recovery, Jefferson decided to retire from the military and founded Jefferson Advertising and counted Northwest Airlines and Gateway Transportation, among his national clients. Throughout his 30 year career in advertising, Jefferson closely followed artists Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth. Additionally, he utilized the enlightenment of Andrew Loomis in the curriculum of the Jefferson School of Art.
In the early 1980’s, Jefferson’s career as a fine artist finally began. His intricately detailed figurative works were featured at a number of major art gallery events nationally, and articles about Jefferson and his drawings appeared in several national Fine Art publications. In an excerpt from one of his interviews, Jefferson offered these insights regarding the inspiration for his work.
“I want to provoke some thought through my drawings. The look of the face, the attitude of the body – I want to portray a moment in the life of that individual. I don’t necessarily want the viewers to see the same thing I do, but I want them to see something – determination in those eyes, suffering, and” he added, “some humor.”
“My goal is to have my work hanging somewhere and have a good figure artist look at it and say ‘That person really knows how to draw,’ I suppose I should be drawing for the market, but instead I’m working for that one person who will recognize my ability.”
“I used to play around with charcoal, building up layers until I started to get out of it what I wanted. Now, I just move in. I have to be this way because the beauty of my medium is the contrast between black and white. I am now working to become bolder and bolder in my approach"
Quite tragically, just as Jefferson had seemingly achieved his lifelong goal to be recognized as a significant American artist, the hardships of his WWII combat and prison camp experience overtook him and he spent the remaining years of his life confined to a military hospital. Jefferson was laid to rest with honors in March of 1996 at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C. In November of 2009, Jefferson’s works of art were added to the permanent collection of The Library of Congress.