Betsy Graves Reyneau

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Betsy Graves Reyneau
Photo of Artist Betsy Graves Reyneau.jpg
Artist Betsy Graves Reyneau and AACP president Thomas L. Griffith standing besides portrait of Dr. George Washington Carver, 1948
EducationSchool of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Known forPortrait painting

Betsy Graves Reyneau (1888–1964) was an American painter, best known for a series of portraits of prominent African Americans once owned by the Harmon Foundation. Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington Carver, Joe Louis, and Thurgood Marshall were among her sitters.

Early life[edit]

Reyneau was raised in Detroit, and although discouraged by her father from becoming an artist on the grounds that it was inappropriate for a woman, she broke ties with the family to pursue that career, and as a young woman attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She later lived in France for a time before returning to the United States and becoming active in civil rights causes. She was later selected by the Circuit Court of Detroit, unbeknownst to her family, to paint a portrait of her grandfather, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Benjamin F. Graves. Reyneau was also a suffragette; she became, in 1917, one of the first women to be arrested and imprisoned for protesting Woodrow Wilson's stance on women's voting rights.[1]


Many of Reyneau's portraits are currently in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.[2][3] She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.


External links[edit]

  • Biography from the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame


  1. ^ Adams, Katherine H.; Keene, Michael L. (2010). After the Vote Was Won: The Later Achievements of Fifteen Suffragists. McFarland. pp. 57–67. ISBN 9780786456475.
  2. ^ "Aaron Douglas". National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  3. ^ "Richmond Barthe". National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2017-08-01.