Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grace Martin Taylor, Proponent for Modernism

Grace Martin Taylor (1903-1995) was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. She left Morgantown to study art at a number of institutions like the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Carnegie Institute, West Virginia University and The Art Students League in New York. Taylor also studied with noted Modernist artists Arthur B. Carles, Hans Hoffmann, Emil Bisttram, and she studied for periods of time between 1925-1954 with her cousin, Blanche Lazzell, in Provincetown, MA.
Creative types can abound in families, although they tend to be seen more often in generational father-son lines, not necessarily in cousins. The Taylor/Lazzell clan also worked together for many years, but while each artist had their won look,  associations and visual connections can be drawn when comparing Taylor and Lazzell's work. 
Lazzell worked in a Japanese style woodblock printmaking method called the Provincetown print and she introduced it toTaylor. They often spent summers working together on these prints in Provincetown; the products of which are generally considered amongst both artists' finest works. In Taylor's case her sensibility for fractured still-lifes and landscapes show her clear preference for abstraction. She burgeons on a raw, more primitive side side of woodblocks when not making her more well-known Provincetown prints, but her color work is sophisticated and relatively intense when compared with her cousin.
Taylor was also known as a prolific artist and taught studio art at the university level. She spent her career in academia and was head of the art department and also president (1955-56) of the Mason College of Music and Fine Arts in Charleston, W.Va. (which is now known as the University of Charleston).She is credited with perpetuating modern art and abstraction in West Virginia
Taylor's works have been exhibited throughout the United States at several prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, the Smithsonian Institution, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and ACME Fine Art in Boston.
In 2008 Taylor's work was included in “The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock” at the British Museum in London, England.

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