Chicago Collects | Ed Paschke  

Chicago Collects | Ed Paschke

Blog | July 26, 2018

Born and raised on the north side of Chicago, Ed Paschke is one of the city’s most famous artists and is known for his bold, sometimes shocking, subject matter. He led an extraordinary life and left a mark on his hometown, which is commemorated at the Ed Paschke Art Center, an educational resource and public art gallery in Jefferson Park.


Ed Paschke was introduced to art at an early age through his father’s sketches and Disney animation. He earned both his BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and was awarded a travel scholarship to Mexico, where he was inspired by the colors, patterns and vernacular art he observed.

buy ed paschke
Key Bulb, 1970 (with artist detail signature) and Pharaoh Grande, 2000. Both to be auctioned in October.

Paschke’s depiction of the famous and infamous, as well as his inclination towards pop culture subject matter, was inspired by Andy Warhol’s first museum exhibition, which was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) in 1970. Shortly after, Paschke’s work was shown at the MCA (1972), the Whitney Biennale (1973) and in commercial galleries in Chicago and New York.

ed paschke art center
Ed Paschke, Clochette, 1989, is a recent contribution to the permanent collection of the Ed Paschke Art Center.

Paschke taught at local colleges and universities, including SAIC, Columbia and Northwestern. One of the highlights of his career was a traveling retrospective  mounted by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989.


Paschke’s artistic presence in Chicago began as a contributor within a large rotating cast of artists dubbed the Chicago Imagists. The artist soon went on to distinguish himself by pulling subjects from tabloids and adding a social or political dimension to his work. The last series of art by the artist was highly patterned, decoratively embellished likenesses from history, religion and politics. These icons were symbols of American identity, values, dreams and nightmares.

ed paschke vosotros
Ed Paschke, Vosotros, 1983. Oil on canvas. Gifted to the Ed Paschke Art Center in 2018.

A year after his passing in 2004, the city of Chicago honored him with the naming of The Ed Paschke Memorial Way on the northeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe street downtown. His work is exhibited in countless private collections throughout the world and the notable permanent collections of The Art Institute and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, among others.


Now through September 1, the Ed Paschke Art Center is exhibiting Ed Paschke: Mixed Media, an assemblage of works by the artist selected by his daughter, Sharon, from her private collection. The exhibition will feature drawings, paintings, sculptures and prints that span the full arc of his forty-year career.

vaca victoria ed paschke
Ed Paschke, Winging (1968) and Vaca Victoria (1999), both currently on display at the Ed Paschke Art Center

Also on display is Vaca Victoria, Ed Paschke’s contribution to Chicago’s “Cows on Parade” in 1999. The sculpture was only displayed for three days before it was withdrawn from public view because of its controversial inclusion of gang signs. The Ed Paschke Art Center is free and open to the public, operating seven days a week.


Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will host a Made in Chicago auction, as well as a panel discussion on collecting locally, in support of Art Design Chicago. A number of Ed Paschke works will be offered at auction and will be available for viewing during the sale’s exhibition, which is free and open to the public.

Ed Paschke, Cineface, 1993 (top), Pump, 1989 (left) and Indigo Deux, 1988 (right) to be sold at auction in October.

Follow our series this summer at and on our social media pages #chicagocollects. You can also join our Art Design Chicago mailing list to receive updates straight to your inbox and an invite to Chicago Collects, October 19.

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