The Exhibition

For more than 50 years, Werner Pfeiffer (German-American, born 1937) has experimented with the multiple uses of paper as both a canvas and a structural material. Much of his work as a sculptor, printmaker and painter suggests an attraction to machines and machine-like constructions. His drawings are schematic, his dimensional works project into space claiming their own territory and his complex artist books have moving parts. He is fascinated by puzzles and contradictions, metaphors and wordplay, and this curiosity inspires works that are thought-provoking in themselves. A prodigious artist, Mr. Pfeiffer's works on paper have been shown and collected internationally. The nearly 200 unique and limited-edition works of art in this exhibition include drawings, dimensional prints, 3D collage, and sculptural and experimental books. Free admission.

Paper During and Post WWII: Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: Paper During and Post WWII

The Sensory Elements of Paper: Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: The Sensory Elements of Paper

The Heart, the Mind and the Hand: Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: The Heart, the Mind and the Hand

Hopes for 'Drawn, Cut & Layered': Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: Hopes for Drawn, Cut & Layered

Paper Transformed: Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: Paper Transformed

A Visual Society: Still from interview with Werner Pfeiffer

Watch: A Visual Society

The Artist

A resident of Red Hook, New York, Pfeiffer was born in 1937 in Stuttgart, Germany. After immigrating to the United States in 1961, he pursued a career in design and art direction, becoming an art professor at Pratt Institute and director of the Pratt Adlib Press in 1969. He retired from Pratt in 2002.

His books, collages, drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures have been shown in more than 100 group exhibitions and over 70 solo shows internationally. His award-winning designs have been widely published in magazines such as Print, Modern Publicity and Art Direction. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), among others.

Related Programming

Conversation: Werner Pfeiffer and Brian Kennedy

Feb. 7: 2-3:30 p.m., Little Theater

Toledo Museum of Art Director Brian Kennedy will host a Q&A session with Werner Pfeiffer and discuss his experimental artist books, inspiration and career.

Paper Manipulation with Werner Pfeiffer

Feb. 8: 1-4 p.m.

This one-time only workshop with visiting artist Werner Pfeiffer will introduce participants to the art of paper manipulation. After viewing demonstrations by the artist and his works in Drawn, Cut & Layered, participants will create their own unique work of art. The cost is $50 for Museum members and $60 for nonmembers; register at

Look of Love: An Evening in Celebration of the Color Red

6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 12, Glass Pavilion

Celebrate the power of red at this program in honor of the shade. Entertainment will be provided by the Art Tatum Jazz Society, with a menu from the Museum Café inspired by the hue. Color-coordinated garb is encouraged.

TMA Masters Series: Darra Goldstein

Feb. 19: 6-7 p.m., Peristyle

Darra Goldstein is the founding editor of Gastronomica, a food and cultural journal that was a recent winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for publication of the year. She is also the author of four cookbooks: “A Taste of Russia” (finalist, Tastemaker Award); “The Georgian Feast” (winner of the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award for Cookbook of the Year); “The Winter Vegetarian;” and “Baking Boot Camp” (created with the Culinary Institute of America). Goldstein’s talk, Looking at Cookbooks: Seven Centuries of Visual Feasts, will reveal cookbooks as more than just functional manuals for the kitchen, but as aesthetic symbols of our culture. Goldstein will sign books from 7–7:30 p.m. in Gallery 1.

Sunday Family Film Club: The Secret of Kells

March 15: 2-4 p.m., Little Theater

The Sunday Family Film Club is a new program for families that features free screenings of movies, with film choices inspired by current exhibitions in the Museum. The Secret of Kells is an Academy Award-nominated animated film that tells the Celtic story of the creation of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Bible that is considered an Irish national treasure.

Bananas: An Evening in Celebration of the Color Yellow

March 26: 6:30-8:30 p.m., GlasSalon

This evening of multimedia programming inspired by the sunniest color on the spectrum features literary readings (a treatise on the hue by Alexander Theroux, author of “The Primary Colors”); music (think “Yellow Submarine” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”); film clips (Carmen Miranda’s creative use of bananas as head gear will be explored); and surprise contributions by area artists. The program was inspired by Pfeiffer’s playful Banana Drawings, which are featured in the exhibition.

Interactive Lecture: Word Play

April 2: 7-8:30 p.m., Little Theater

Join Toledo poets in celebration of the look of language with interactive word games and visual poetry collaborations.

Sunday Family Film Club: The Illusionist

April 19: 2-4 p.m., Little Theater

Inspired by Werner Pfeiffer’s use of the words hocus pocus and abracadabra, TMA’s Sunday Family Film Club presents this animated feature about a young girl who finds inspiration from a down-on-his-luck magician.

Something Blue: An Evening in Celebration of the Primary Color featuring Dooley Wilson

April 23: 6:30-8:30 p.m., GlasSalon

This multi-media program featuring a musical performance by Toledo blues artist Dooley Wilson explores the color blue in song, film, writing and more.

Lecture: Artist-Made Books

April 30: 7-8 p.m., Toledo Museum of Art Resource Library

Toledo Museum of Art Head Librarian Alison Huftalen shares limited-edition and one-of-a-kind artist books from the library collection.

Related Exhibitions

People on Paper

Feb. 7 – May 7, 2015, Community Gallery

People on Paper challenges area artists to create figurative art that portrays the everyday—resting, eating, dancing, listening, meeting, standing, waiting— inspired by works in the Museum’s collection.

Werner Pfeiffer Selects

Feb. 13 – May 3, 2015, Works on Paper Gallery

Artist Werner Pfeiffer selected works on paper from the TMA collection by artists who have influenced his own work and aesthetic. Drawing on decades as an educator, keen observer and practicing artist, Mr. Pfeiffer reveals some of the inspiration behind his creativity in this companion show to the major exhibition Drawn, Cut & Layered: The Art of Werner Pfeiffer. Among the nearly 100 selections are books and prints by Modern masters such as Henri Matisse, as well as works by contemporary artists like Lucas Samaras. Free admission.

Werner Pfeiffer at work

Related Merchandise

Werner Pfeiffer Untitled Collage

Werner Pfeiffer: Paper Structures

A limited-edition, signed box set of miniatures, Paper Structures is a hands-on companion to the exhibition Drawn, Cut & Layered: The Art of Werner Pfeiffer held at the Toledo Museum of Art. The images are taken from objects in the show, and viewers are invited to manipulate the pieces in a variety of ways to better understand the works of art. Four elements are included, and each can be set up in different ways as shown. Each of the 250 copies is signed and numbered.


Werner Pfeiffer Untitled Collage

Werner Pfeiffer (Censor, Villain, Provocateur, Experimenter): Book-Objects & Artist Books

Catalog by Werner Pfeiffer with an introduction by Martin Antonetti, paperback, 68 pages, color illustrations throughout.


Werner Pfeiffer Untitled Collage

Werner Pfeiffer: Endangered Species

Catalog by Werner Pfeiffer with a forward by Philip Roth, text in German and English.