March 28 1922 - present
Photograph of Grace Hartigan, 1986, unknown photographer, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Drawings and prints, Painting
In 1950, just five years after moving to Manhattan, Grace Hartigan was participating in a major exhibition curated by Clement Greenberg and Meyer Schapiro, two of the most influential figures in the New York art world; the following year she had the first of many one-woman exhibitions. Born to a middle-class family in Newark, New Jersey, Hartigan married at nineteen. Her son was born in 1942, the same year her husband was drafted; the couple divorced in 1947.
During World War II, Hartigan worked as a mechanical draftsperson in an airplane factory. A co-worker introduced her to the art of Henri Matisse, sparking her decision to dedicate herself to painting. Between 1942 and 1947, Hartigan studied with the local artist Isaac Lane Muse, moving to New York just as Abstract Expressionism
was beginning to dominate the avant-garde scene. Hartigan met Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and other seminal figures from this group, whose interest in creating large canvases covered with abstract, emotion-filled marks paralleled her own.
By the late 1950s, Hartigan had become widely known. She was featured in Life
magazines and was the only woman among seventeen artists chosen to participate in The Museum of Modern Art’s prestigious exhibition The New American Painting
, which traveled to eight European countries from 1958 to 1959. As with other Abstract Expressionists, interest in Hartigan’s work waned during the 1960s and 1970s, but her art has enjoyed renewed popularity over the past two decades.
Sine 1960, Hartigan has lived in Baltimore, far removed from the excitement and pressures of the New York scene. Seven years after settling there she began teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she continues to direct the Graduate Program in Painting. Retrospectives of Hartigan’s work have been held at American University in Washington, DC (1987), the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Museum of Art (1981), and New York’s Kouros Gallery (1989).
Director (Administration), Engineer, Professor
Place(s) of Residence:
San Miguel de Allende Art School, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (1949)
Private lessons (1942-1947)
Newark College of Engineering, Newark, NJ, USA (1942)
Related Visual Artists:
friend of Jackson Pollock
friend of Willem de Kooning
friend of Lee Krasner
student of Isaac Lane Muse
teacher of Constance Pierce
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Childe Hassam Purchase Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, USA (1974)
Artist-in-Residence, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, USA (1965)
Merit Award for Art, Mademoiselle Magazine, Condé Nast Publications, New York, NY, USA (1957)
9th Street Show, New York, NY, USA (1949)
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers
Grace Hartigan: A Survey: Works on Paper 1950s-2005, C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD, USA (2005)
Grace Hartigan, Four Decades of Painting, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, USA (1989)
Grace Hartigan: A Mini-Retrospective 1954-1984, Watkins Gallery, American University, Washington, DC, USA (1987)