Grace Hartigan

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Grace Hartigan
Portrait of Grace Hartigan in Life Magazine, May 13, 1957.jpg
"Most celebrated of the young American women painters, Grace Hartigan, who comes from Newark, N.J., has developed a brilliantly bold, semi-abstract style to capture the garish jumble of excitement of the market district of New York's lower East Side where she lives." LIFE Magazine, May 13, 1957
Born (1922-03-28)March 28, 1922
Newark, N.J.
Died November 15, 2008(2008-11-15) (aged 86)
Baltimore, M.D.
Nationality American
Known for Painting
Movement Abstract Expressionism

Grace Hartigan (March 28, 1922 – November 15, 2008) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter of the New York School in the 1950s.[1]

Early Years[edit]

Born in Newark, New Jersey, of Irish English descent, Grace Hartigan was the oldest of four children. Although she was not raised in the art world, her father and grandmother often sang songs and told her stories, encouraging her romantic fantasies. Her mother, however, disagreed with the support of her free-spirit approach to life, leaving Hartigan feeling alienated. At seventeen she was married to Robert Jachens. When her husband was drafted in 1942, Hartigan attended the Newark College of Engineering, studying mechanical drafting. She also worked as a draftsman in an airplane factory to support herself and her son. During this time in the forties, she studied painting with Isaac Lane Muse. Through him, she was introduced to Henri Matisse and Kimon Nicolaïdes’s The Natural Way to Draw, which influenced her later work as a painter.[2]


Grace Hartigan gained her reputation as part of the New York School of artists and painters that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and '50s. She was a lively participant in the vibrant artistic and literary milieu of the times, and her friends included Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Frank O'Hara, Knox Martin, and many other painters, artists, poets, and writers.[3] She was the only woman artist in the Museum of Modern Art's legendary The New American Painting exhibition which toured Europe in the late 1950s.[4]

Hartigan relocated to Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s where she resided until her death. Over the years she has had dozens of solo exhibits, as well as participating in group shows for galleries such as Tibor de Nagy and Martha Jackson in New York, and her paintings are held by prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of Art. From 1965 on she worked at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she was the director of the Hoffberger Graduate School of Painting; see Maryland Institute College of Art MFA Programs.

Late Career in Baltimore, MD[edit]

In 1979 the C. Grimaldis Gallery introduced Grace Hartigan's work to Baltimore, Maryland with the "Paintings Of The Seventies" solo exhibition. She continued on to have a solo exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art the following year.[5][6] In a feature article in The Baltimore Sun Sunday Magazine Cherrill Anson wrote, "The most celebrated woman painter in the United States today, Miss Hartigan has made her studio in a four-story former rag factory a block from the waterfront for two years-ever since she married the Johns Hopkins scientist Dr. Winston H. Price and moved to Baltimore from New York." [7] The C. Grimaldis Gallery remains Grace Hartigan's primary representation in Baltimore since the beginning of their relationship in 1979. Professor Rex R. Stevens is the executor of her estate since 2008 and the Personal Representative of the Grace Hartigan Estate. From 1965 [8] until 2008 Hartigan was the Chair of the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art.[9]


  1. ^ New York school : abstract expressionists : artists choice by artists : a complete documentation of the New York painting and sculpture annuals, 1951-1957, p.16; p.37
  2. ^ Mattison, Robert Saltonstall (1990). Grace Hartigan : a painter's world (1st ed.). New York: Hudson Hills Press. ISBN 1555950418. 
  3. ^ Grace Hartigan : a painter's world
  4. ^ Vicki Goldberg (15 August 1993). "Grace Hartigan Still Hates Pop". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Marchicelli, Ph.D., Graziella, comp. Biography. Hartigan. Comp. Amarillo Museum of Art. 500th ed. Amarillo Museum of Art , 2008. 55-57. Print.
  6. ^ Grimaldis, Constantine. "Conversation With Constantine Grimaldis." Interview by MacKenzie Peck. 11 Jan. 2012.
  7. ^ Anson, Cherrill. "Top Woman Painter." The Sun Sunday Magazine 17 Mar. 1963: 17-19. Print.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Vicki. "Grace Hartigan Still Hates Pop." The New York Times [New York] 15 Aug. 1993, Arts sec. Print.
  9. ^ Maryland Institute College of Art. "Joan Waltemath Named Director of the Hoffberger School of Painting." Maryland Institute College of Art. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.


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