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Max-Karl Winkler


Max-Karl Winkler received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Printmaking from The University of Texas at Austin. He first started teaching studio art courses in 1968 at the College of the Mainland Texas City, Texas, where he helped design the art curriculum.

Along with teaching, he has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer. His clients have included The Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and various publications of the National Science Teachers Association

In 1987 he began teaching part-time in the Studio Arts Program of The Smithsonian Associates. He also worked for fifteen years as the in-house illustrator and designer in the Publications Division of the National Science Resources Center (jointly sponsored by The Smithsonian Institution and The National Academy of Sciences), principally on the Science and Technology for Children (STC) curriculum project. During this period he designed and illustrated a number of other publications for the NSRC, and was responsible for the design and production of displays, brochures, and other visual aspects of the outreach effort. In 2002, he was a recipient of the first annual NSRC Distinguished Service Award.

Since 2004 he has worked as a full-time illustrator and printmaker, and as a part-time teacher. His works have been accepted into a number of national and regional juried exhibitions since 2004; they are in the permanent collections of The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Georgetown University, The National Museum of American History, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Library of Congress. He is a former president and vice president of the Washington Printmakers Gallery. He is active in the Washington Print Club and periodically contributes articles on recent exhibitions and venues to The Washington Print Club Quarterly. His website is

Teaching Philosophy

My work is informed by a fascination with myth, history, and language, with the expression of spiritual impulses through words and images. Influences of Maya and Aztec sculpture, of the woodcuts of Hokusai and Hiroshige, of British wood engravers and woodcutters of the twentieth century, are apparent there.

My work in recent years has been in pen and ink, woodcut, and wood engraving, with increasing interest in more complicated techniques: the multiblock color woodcut, the reduction woodcut, and the whiteline woodcut. The main subjects of this work are the human figure (especially the female nude) and the landscape. My treatment of these subjects, more realistic than abstract, is intended not to describe them, but to express the profound mystery and ineffable grace that they embody.

I do not believe in talent: I believe that any intelligent person can learn to make an intelligent visual statement, and that learning drawing is fundamental to all forms of visual expression.

It appears to me that the arts, in general, are not widely respected by the American public, and that the visual arts are not well taught in the public schools. Part of my aim is to make drawing, and art in general, more accessible and more understandable. The so-called “art world” has an aura of magic attached to it, and I want to bring my students to an understanding that effective pictures result as much from logic and planning as from inspiration.

That said, I also attach great importance to the use of high-quality materials and professional practices, and I like to expose the students to the greatest possible variety of materials and techniques of their subject.

And in the end, I hope that my students will leave their classes with a greater grasp of the fundamentals of art, with an awareness art requires an different and more intense way of seeing than they have known before, with a life that is richer and better because of their study of art, and with the satisfaction of having produced evidence of their learning.