Thursday, 6 March 2014

Barbara Poe-Levee (Reis), the 31 Women number Twenty Six. Her Birthday is 4th March.

Barbara Reis 4 March 1922 - 13 Sept 2013  -                    

    Later known as Barbara Poe-Levee – American painter and collector.

Barbara Poe Levee at 88
Barbara Reis was born in New York City in 1922 and was almost destined to be an artist. Her parents were amongst the NY cognoscenti who, in the early 1940’s, welcomed exiled European artists fleeing the War in their homelands. Her mother Rebecca was a painter, her father Bernard’s profession was as an accountant but both were keen collectors of modern art, an enthusiasm that Barbara followed them into. The family had travelled in Europe during the 1930’s and Barbara was educated at a Rudolph Steiner School in New York, the Tyler School of Fine Arts, Philadelphia and the Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Reises befriended Peggy Guggenheim in around 1940 and while their parents attended each other’s parties and soirees, Barbara became friends with fellow painter Pegeen Vail, Peggy Guggenheim’s daughter by her first marriage to writer and artist Lawrence Vail. Barbara’s first contact, as an impressionable teenager, with the European artists, especially the Surrealists, made a lasting impact on her as an artist.  Her other friends in the 1940’s included artists Luchita Hurtado, Anne Alpert, Matta, Wolfgang Paalen and Robert Motherwell.