Vytautas Osvaldas Virkau was born in 1930 in Šiauliai. In 1944 he fled to the West. From 1946 to 1949 he studied in Lithuanian Gymnasium in Munich, Germany. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1951, he attended the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1956. In 1954–1964 he worked as a teacher in the centre of YMCA (Christian Youth Association), in 1961–1985 served as a professor in George Williams College of Art in Downers Grove (Illinois). In 1986–1995 he served as a professor in North Central College in Naperville (Illinois) and the Head of the Department of Fine Arts. In 1966–1969 he deepened his knowledge in Midway studios. In 1970 he became an art editor and designer of “Metmenys”.
The first bookplate Vytautas Virkau created in 1970 for books donated by American Lithuanians to the library of Vilnius University Library for its 400th anniversary. The artist has created over 400 bookplates and designed over 50 books. He created illustrations for books, sheet prints, paintings, scenery and painted stained glass.
Vytautas Virkau has participated in many individual and group exhibitions. A list of his exhibitions follows: in 1956 – University of Illinois (Urbana), Midwestern Printmakers (Chicago), National Exhibition of Prints (Washington), in 1957 – Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), in 1958 – International Institute, (Wisconsin), Willistead Art Gallery (Windsor, Canada), in 1959 – Chicago and Vicinity Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, in 1960 – First Chicago Invitational Exhibition (Frumkim, Holland, Superior Street Galleries), Chicago and Vicinity Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, Contemporary Arts Association (Houston, Texas), in 1961 – Second Chicago Invitational Exhibition, in 1962 – Graphics Exhibition (Ulm and Freiburg, Germany), in 1963 – Chicago and Vicinity Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gres Gallery (Chicago, solo show), Second Annual Chicago Arts Festival (Honorable Mention), in 1964 – Chicago Public Library (solo show), 67th Annual, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gres Gallery (award winners), Chicago Retrospective, in 1965 – Center for Continuing Education (solo show).
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