Sunday, 29 December 2013

The 31 Women - re. Barbara Poe Levee and my request yesterday

Following information from Paula Thompson, I now know that only one of the 31 Women is still with us in person.  The remaining member of this select and important group is Gretchen (Schoeninger) Corazzo, who celebrated her 100th birthday two weeks ago.

Sadly, painter and collector Barbara (Reis) Poe Levee has died at the age of 91, in the autumn of 2013.  I will post Barbara Poe Levee's biography to coincide with her birthday, in March 2014.

I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who knew Barbara or can tell me anything about her paintings, as I have never seen any of them. Anyone with information can email me -  or post a comment below. Thank you.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The 31 Women, the Project So Far - and a request for help.

In 2013 I've posted biographies of 25 out of the 31 Women. These have included luminaries such as Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington, the unlikely including Gipsy Rose Lee and the unknown with Gretchen Corazzo and Anne Harvey.

For anyone who has missed the point of the selection, the 31 Women all exhibited their work seventy years ago, at an exhibition in January 1943 at the Art of This Century Gallery in New York. This was the first exhibition dedicated to women artists of the avant-garde. The gallery itself was owned and run by Peggy Guggenheim who, though not an artist herself, was probably the most important one of a group of far-sighted women who collected and promoted modern art during the twentieth century. These included Betty Parsons, Louise Dryer and Aline Meyer Liebman, who was also one of the 31 Women.

The most popular of my posts seem to be the following:-
1 Gypsy Rose Lee - She was the first I posted but still... not all the interest is in her artworks!
2 Leonora Carrington - I'm trying to promote Leonora as a British artist, she's woefully under-represented in the UK. 
3 Sonja Sekula - Surprisingly popular considering Sonja's obscurity, although her work is lovely.
4 Xenia Cage - Not so surprised about Xenia, considering the interest in John Cage.
5 Frida Kahlo - I'm just surprised that dear Frida is only number five!

For 2014
My research is almost complete, so there are only another six artists whose biographies will appear here, hopefully to coincide with their birthdays.

Look out for Esphyr Slobodkina, Leonor Fini, Maria Elena Vieira da Silva, Louise Nevelson, Aline Meyer Liebman and Barbara Poe Levee (formerly Barbara Reis).

I hope soon to turn this research into an actual book.

Help needed.
My request for help surrounds the last two artists, Aline Meyer Liebman and Barbara Poe Levee. I don't know either of their birthdays, just that they were born in 1879 and 1922 respectively. Also in the case of Barbara Poe Levee I have no information about her work as an artist or her exhibitions between 1945 and  2002.
Any information would be very welcome.

And a Very Happy 2014 to everyone!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Gretchen Corazzo celebrates her Centenary on 18 December 2013 - She is number twenty-five of the 31 Women

Artist and sculptor Gretchen Schoeninger Corazzo celebrates her one-hundredth birthday on 18 December 2013. Her century is being celebrated by a retrospective exhibition at the Box Factory for the Arts on Broad Street, St. Joseph, Michigan. Gretchen is an American sculptor, photographer, illustrator, collage and assemblage artist, printmaker and a musician.  She is another of those multi-talented women who have been active artists all their lives, yet have somehow managed to evade both fame and notoriety. In her nineties she stopped making the large concrete sculptures which formed her output for some time. As a centenarian she still works daily on a smaller scale with collages.
Born on 18 December 1913 in Ravinia, Illinois, Gretchen’s life has spanned the entirety of twentieth century innovations in American art. She has created sculptures in the same vein as Louise Nevelson and Esphyr Slobodkina, working with found objects to form abstract constructions, as well as working in cement, clay and plaster.  Although today she is unknown outside her home state, she was involved with the wider avant-garde from an early stage.  Her husband, painter and architect Alexander Corazzo is hardly any better known than Gretchen so her obscurity cannot be blamed on him, unlike for example her friend Xenia Cage, who was conveniently ignored in the creation of the John Cage myth.

Gretchen’s talents were encouraged throughout her childhood. Her mother, Hester B. Hall was a schoolteacher and her father Joseph Schoeninger was an entrepreneur specialising in printing processes. Her parents wanted an unrestrictive education for their offspring and were quite prepared to move to a new area to put the children into a more progressive school, the family relocated several times. In 1922 Gretcehen and her siblings boarded at the Heidehoff Schule near Stuttgart in Southern Germany, whilst their father negotiated the bringing of the advanced rotogravure printing process from Germany to the States. This was a shrewd investment. The rotogravure process would become widely used in the newspaper and publishing industry and is still used today, printing everything from glossy magazines to vinyl floor coverings.