Jane Rades was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942. As a child in elementary school, Rades and her classmates helped the school win a state-wide art contests. She continued into high school, and from then on was encouraged to pursue the arts. This led her to enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied from 1960-1963. Professors John Colt and Joseph Friebert were particularly influential. At this time she was also inspired by the work of Edvard Munch and Willem de Kooning, and these Expressionist influences can be seen in the dramatic colors and compositions of her early work.
In 1963, she moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rades recalls “walking down to Fisherman's Wharf, buying some French bread and a fresh-cracked crab for $1.00, and eating it in the grassy back yard of the school”, and, during her last semester, “painting in the Hyde Street studios all day, after buying a coffee and doughnut in the cafeteria. Such nice light coming in through those old windows.”
Studying at the birthplace of the Bay Area Figurative style of painting had a profound effect on Rades’ art, and many of her works from this period reflect the rich palette, loose brushstroke, and intimate treatment of the figure as characterized by this art. She was drawn to the painting of Elmer Bischoff, David Park, Edouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard, and cites these artists as major influences during her early years in San Francisco. Rades studied with Alvin Light, Julius (Jerry) Hatofsky, and Jack Jefferson at the Institute, and many of her pieces in the Lost Art Salon collection came from this rich period of inspiration and guidance. Of these professors, Rades says that “all of these teachers seemed to know what to say, and at what point to say it.”
Rades went on to exhibit at the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery, SomArts Gallery, the Art for AIDS Auction, and continues to show her work at the San Francisco Open Studios in 2003, 2005, and 2016. She has been influenced by the themes in Hopi and Navajo art, and by the Japanese woodcut artist, Shiko Munakata. Also a poet, Rades has published several books of poetry; “A Rosary of Poems, Five Decades” (2008), “Two Years in the Tarot, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Fortuneteller” (2010), and “Midnight at Mom and Dad’s” (2012). In 1968-69 she created a deck of Tarot cards, which she published in 2013.
Lost Art Salon would like to thank Jane for sharing her collection and story and for helping us to bring this important piece of San Francisco’s art history to our audience.