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Grace Hartigan

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Grace Hartigan
American
(Newark, New Jersey, 1922 - 2008, Baltimore, Maryland)

Grace Hartigan was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1922. She was formally educated at the Newark College of Engineering, but studied art privately with Isaac Lane Muse. She achieved significant recognition as early as 1958 when she was selected by the Museum of Modern Art for its exhibition, The New American Painting, and she was celebrated into the 1960's.(1) In 1962, Current Biography called her "the most celebrated woman painter in the United States today.(2)" She is now recognized internationally as a leader in the second generation of Abstract Expressionists. Her work is represented in such collections as the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Hartigan's abstract compositions were inspired by the environment of the city—fragments such as store windows, pushcarts or glimpses of observed figures were the basis for her arrangements of form and color. At the beginning of her career, she focused on creativity rather than execution, influenced by de Kooning and Kline.(3) She drifted into and out of the style of Abstract Expressionism, realizing that "her temperament required the use of fragmentary elements from the real world around her to draw forth the full emotional response in painting.(4)" Thus, other examples of her work, Oranges, No. 6 for example dating from 1952 and Beauty Mask, from 1965, demonstrate a greater reliance on representational imagery.(5)

(1)Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists: from Early Indian Times to the Present. (New York: G.K. Hall and Company, 1982), p. 280. (2)Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists: from Early Indian Times to the Present. (New York: G.K. Hall and Company, 1982), p. 280. (3)Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists: from Early Indian Times to the Present. (New York: G.K. Hall and Company, 1982), p. 280. (4)Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists: from Early Indian Times to the Present. (New York: G.K. Hall and Company, 1982), p. 280. (5)Terence Diggory, Grace Hartigan and the Poets: Paintings and Prints. (Saratoga Springs: Skidmore College, 1993), pp. 8-9. L. Burgess 3/28/95


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