Marguerite Zorach

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Marguerite Zorach
Marguerite Zorach, American painter and printmaker, 1887-1968, in her studio.jpg
Marguerite Zorach in her studio
Born (1887-09-25)September 25, 1887
Died June 27, 1968(1968-06-27) (aged 80)
Nationality American
Known for painting
Awards Logan Medal

Marguerite Zorach (née Thompson) (September 25, 1887 – June 27, 1968) was an American fauvist painter, textile artist, and graphic designer and was an early exponent of modernism in America. She won the 1920 Logan Medal of the Arts.[1]


Marguerite was born in Santa Rosa, California. Her father, a lawyer for the Napa vineyards, and mother were descended from "New England seafarers and Pennsylvania Quakers. She began drawing at a very young age and her parents gave her a very liberal education, music lessons in elementary school and four years of Latin at Fresno High School. She was one of a small group of women admitted to Stanford University in 1908.[2] Rather than completing university in the United States, she travelled to France at the invitation of her aunt, Harriet Adelaide Harris.[3] There she attended the post-impressionist school Académie de La Palette, where she met William Zorach, and associated with Pablo Picasso and ex-patriate Gertrude Stein. She exhibited at the 1910 Société des Artistes Indépendants, and the 1911 Salon d'Automne.

In 1912, she married William Zorach, on December 24, 1912, in New York City.[4] They had a son, Tessim Zorach, and a daughter, artist Dahlov Ipcar. They lived in New York, and spent summers in New England. In 1922, they visited Gaston Lachaise at Georgetown, Maine, and later bought a house. They were friends with Marsden Hartley, F. Holland Day, Gertrude Kasebier, and Paul Strand.[5]


Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Lost Lake, Yosemite, Brooklyn Museum
Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Memories of My California Childhood

Her work appeared in the 1913 Armory Show.[6] Marguerite continued to paint and began to work with textiles, using embroidery and batik.[7] In 1964, Zorach received a D.F.A. from Bates College.

Marguerite Thompson Zorach Skiff in Waves and Figures in Landscape

She was an innovator of the American modernist movement and helped introduce fauvist and cubist styles to the United States. After traveling extensively in Egypt, Palestine, India, and Japan, she returned home to produce brilliantly colored Fauvist landscapes with thick black outlines. Her style developed and included more Cubist structure until she turned to creating embroidered tapestries after the birth of her two children. While she continued to paint and assist her husband, William Zorach, on larger projects, her main focus was on these tapestries. She completed two WPA murals for the Fresno post office.

In 2007, the Gerald Peters Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of her work.[8] In 2010, her watercolors were exhibited at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.[9] In 2011, a retrospective is being held at Franklin & Marshall College.[10]

Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, California, Brooklyn Museum


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