Artist of the Month: Grace Hartigan

The thirteenth artist that will be highlighted is: Grace Hartigan

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Portrait of Grace Hartigan in Life Magazine, May 13, 1957

According to her Wikipedia page: “Grace Hartigan (March 28, 1922 – November 15, 2008) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter and a significant member of the vibrant New York School of the 1950s and 1960s. Her circle of friends, who frequently inspired one another in their artistic endeavors, included Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Frank O’Hara. Her paintings are held by numerous major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Hoffberger School of Painting, she influenced numerous young artists.”

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I was late to the Grace Haritgan party and first learned about her while reading “Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement that Changed Modern Art” (2017) by Mary Gabriel. Not only was it wonderful that these Ladies were finally being recognized, but the book was so well written and the subject matter so captivating that it was difficult to put the book down. I cannot recommend this book high enough, if you have an opportunity, please check it out.

I will admit that this book was the one that sent me into an 18 month long journey to learn more about the New York School and it’s artists… and the love affair is still not over. I find myself constantly being drawn back into the world of the New York School in my personal reading despite my recent attempts to “branch out”  by moonlighting in the Renaissance.

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After some difficulty, I have located an affordable copy of “Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan” (2015) by Cathy Curtis, so despite my recent efforts, I know I will be even further immersed in the New York School as soon as this book arrived on my doorstep.

As much as I am excited that these two books are available, along with Grace’s journals from 1951-1955, I am disappointed that it took until 2015 before Grace’s biography was published.

I think one of the main reasons I started the Artist of the Month blogs were so I could explore the lives of these women, to see what drove them to become artists, what they overcame and to learn about their ideas on art. I am endlessly intrigued about the artistic process and spending time with these women allows me the opportunity to absorb and incorporate some of their ideas into my work and studio practice.

Please check out Grace discuss her art and process in the 2009 Smithsonian American Art Museum video below: 

Please check out the White Rooster Studio Facebook page during the month of June for more photos of Grace and images of her work.

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