Native to the Bay Area, Bischoff studied at the University of California under the "Berkeley School" modernists Worth Ryder, Erle Loran, and Margaret Peterson. His experience during World War II profoundly affected his view of the world and his place in it. In 1946, Bischoff joined the faculty of the California School of Fine Arts where--with colleagues Edward Corbett, Richard Diebenkorn, Claire Falkenstein, David Park, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Hassel Smith, and Clyfford Still--he found himself at the hub of avant-garde expression in the Bay Area.
Having interviewed many of the artist's surviving colleagues and family members, Landauer offers valuable primary documentation on Bischoff, the Bay Area Figurative School, and the cultural history of the Northern California art scene. Her lively text is supported with insightful research into the social and political background of the period. She considers Bischoff's career in relation to the European artists who influenced him, his interactions with his local contemporaries, and his reactions to the New York art scene. A useful chronology of the artist's life, a bibliography, and documentary photographs that Landauer uncovered during her research make this volume an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the artistic vision of Elmer Bischoff.