A respected artist and art educator at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Drawing Influence: Joseph Friebert & His Students

Figure Drawing by Joseph Fribert
by Virgi Driscoll

Joe Friebert was a beloved and respected artist and art educator at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and its predecessor, Wisconsin State College -Milwaukee – from 1947 – 1977. He continued to make art until his death at the age of 94. A leading Wisconsin artist who had a strong commitment to drawing, Freibert instilled that love in his students. This exhibition shows the influence he had on students who went on to become artists and in many cases artists/educators.

Quoting from his daughter, Susan Friebert Rossen, “ Drawing was always a critical component of Friebert’s artist process. All of his favorite subjects appear in his drawn oeuvre: urban life, the Wisconsin landscape, work, social injustice, and the figure. He filled dozens of sketchbooks with observations of city dwellers and laborers, and scenes of Milwaukee and the outlying rural areas. One can find studies for early oil paintings, complete with color notations.”

He taught a variety of art classes during his university career but it is said that his love of drawing the human figure and anatomy were his favorite courses to teach. Looking, seeing and internalizing were crucial in his delivery. You can see and feel this in his drawings.

This gentle, caring and sensitive man had an impact on many artists and artist/educators over the years who had him as an instructor. Twenty five artists are represented in this show including SE WVA members: Allen Caucutt, Virgi Driscoll, Peggy Thurston Farrell, William Schulman, Shirley Schulman, and Jean Sobon.

The show runs through November 8, 2008 at the Inova/Arts Center, 2400 East Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211. It was curated by Bruce Knackert, director of Inova galleries, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.