John W. Winkler

American , 1890 - 1979

John William Joseph Winkler was born in Vienna, Austria in 1890. With the help of a monetary gift from his grandmother, he moved to the United States. After living for a short while in Los Angeles, he settled in San Francisco, which was just rebuilding from the earthquake of 1906. In 1911 he attended the Mark Hopkins Institute (later the San Francisco Institute of Art).

Winkler is best known for his etchings of the San Francisco hills, wharves, and Chinatown, as well as those of the East Bay. From 1922 to 1930, he worked and exhibited in Europe, showing his etchings of London and France, his pencil drawings of French cathedrals and his pen and ink drawings of French people and the French countryside.

In 1932 Winkler returned to the United States and completed the plate and edition for the George Washington Bicentennial, which included 75 drawings of historic figures. Winkler produced a set of conte crayon drawings of mountains and trees and made carved and decorated boxes out of wood that he collected from the California Sierra woods. He also completed a set of miniature farm scenes and a set of Christmas etchings.

Winkler used nitric acid exclusively for his etchings, pouring it onto the plate and moving it around to achieve varying line depth and intensity. His editions were commonly small and he used rag paper for permanence.

Throughout his career, Winkler produced over 300 etching plates, hundreds of drawings, 200 hand carved and decorated wood boxes and numerous jewelry pieces. In 1976, over 40 of Winkler’s never published plates were finished and small editions printed.


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