Many simultaneous projects dot the cavernous but highly organized studio. Tiny delicate drawings on library cards grid a tabletop, and a twenty-seven foot long, ten foot high, wildly gestural painting stretches the length of the studio like a billboard. There are waxes in the process of becoming bronze castings, and plates in the process of becoming etchings. Each surface holds a work in progress, for Himmelfarb is nothing if not prolific. His commissions are as diverse as his personal work from cast iron gates or hand crafted glazed iconic tiles for homes to mural sized public art for airports, libraries, universities, the list goes on and on, and in each case, new territory is charted, an additional medium is learned. Himmelfarb is a scientist and a sponge, a pioneer and a prophet. He experiments, learns, discovers, and generously shares his unique perception of the world.

On my first visit to Himmelfarb’s studio, I was fascinated at the vast quantity of remarkable work that he has created over a lifetime. Yet, as diverse as his art is, there are threads running through it all that stitch it into one unified body — there is no mistaking any of Himmelfarb’s oeuvre for anyone else’s. He is one of a kind, a Renaissance man let loose in a world of art supplies, fearless, maverick, always on to the next thing, yet remaining true to his vision.

— Susan Aurinko, Curator
August 2007

welcome to the Chicago studio ...

photographs by Mark Ballogg

at work in the Chicago studio ...

photographs by Liza Berkoff

the studio near Spring Green ...

photographs by John Himmelfarb