It’s Day 191 and I’m seriously pooped. My friend Mark is in town so I’m trying to paint ahead and keep this blog updated while having a house guest. I also haven’t been sleeping too well. My schedule has been a little off with my busy schedule. Can’t complain too much though. Join me in honoring Gertrude Greene today!
Gertrude Glass Greene (1904 – November 25, 1956) was an abstract sculptor and painter from New York, New York. Gertrude and her husband, artist Balcomb Greene, were heavily involved in political activism to promote mainstream acceptance of abstract art. They were founding members of the American Abstract Artists organization.
Gertrude Glass was the daughter of Siegfried and Berta Glass who owned a department store in
Brooklyn, New York. After completing high school, Gertrude went to evening sculpture classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York City where she met other students who were interested in the new abstract style of art.
Glass married Balcomb Greene in 1926 after he graduated from Syracuse University, and traveled with him to Vienna, Austria, where he pursued graduate studies in psychology. The couple moved back to New York in 1927 where Balcomb attended Columbia University to study for a Master Degree in English literature, while she continued study sculpture. Balcomb moved to Hanover, New Hampshire where he taught literature from 1928-1931 at Dartmouth College. Initially, Gertrude joined Balcomb in New Hampshire where she had a sculpture studio. But she preferred living in New York so left New Hampshire without Balcomb. After he quit teaching at Dartmouth, the couple traveled to Paris, France for a year where for the only time during their marriage they shared a studio.
Greene was one the earliest of American artists, possibly the first, to produce non-objective relief sculptures in the early 1930s. She synthesized Cubist and Russian Constructivists themes into her work. By the 1940s, her work showed her interest in Mondrian and Neo-Plasticism. She produced her last sculpture in 1946 and for the rest of life she concentrated on abstract painting. Nonetheless, her paintings never completely lost a “sense of architectural structure”.
Grace Borgenicht Gallery had the first solo exhibition of her work in 1951, and another was held at
the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in 1955. A painting of Greene’s was chosen for the cover of Arts Magazine in April 1982, which featured an article about Greene’s paintings, written by Jacqueline Moss. There was a retrospective of her work at ACA Gallery in 1982. Greene’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Berkshire Museum.
Greene supported many liberal political causes affecting artists. She “encouraged the formation of WPA programs to help struggling artists” and was “an active member of the Federation of Painters and Sculptors, the Artists’ Union, and a founding member of American Abstract Artists.” Gertrude worked as a gallery attendant at the AAA’s first annual exhibition, and was the group’s first paid employee. The Greenes were active with the AAA committees, and worked to gain acceptance of abstract art by picketing museums that did not feature works of abstract artist. Lee Krasner called Greene an “up front” person and said she was one of the most active members of the AAA.
Her health rapidly deteriorated and on November 25, 1956, Gertrude died at a New York City hospital of cancer.
Biography is from wikipedia.
I hope you enjoy my piece today. I will see you tomorrow on Day 192! Best, Linda