(1926 - )
Raimonds Staprans is a painter whose still life and landscape compositions explore color and form by examining the geometry or ‘architecture’ of everyday objects—chairs, tables, fruit, anonymous buildings—and subverting their inherent naturalism via vibrant color and flattened compositions. Staprans’ attention to formalist values creates a tension between representation and abstraction that plays with viewers' expectations. Staprans, like Richard Diebenkorn, views subject matter as an integral component in exploring the formal devices of Abstract Expressionism while depicting a recognizable image.
Raimonds Staprans immigrated with his family to America in 1947 after fleeing Latvia during the Soviet invasion. He studied art at the University of Washington under Alexander Archipenko and Mark Tobey and then obtained his master’s degree at UC Berkeley where he studied with Hans Hofmann. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the San Jose Museum of Art, to name a few. Staprans was the subject of a career retrospective that opened at the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art in March 2006 and traveled to the State Museum in Riga, Latvia. He is also an accomplished playwright, whose writing explores the tension between fact and fiction, totalitarian ‘reality’ and human truth, set against his Latvian homeland’s twentieth century history. In 2003, Staprans was awarded Latvia's highest civilian honor, the Three Star Medal, the equivalent of the United States' Presidential Medal of Freedom.