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Isabel Bishop (American)
Born 1902 in Cincinnati, OH – Died 1988 in New York, NY
A member of New York's 14th Street School, Isabel Bishop is best known for her paintings and drawings of shop girls, secretaries, and down-and out-men around Union Square in New York City. With her keen observation and great technical skill, she portrayed ordinary people in an extraordinary way. She often monumentalized her figures. She also created a wide range of other work, including still lifes, interior views, and nudes, all of which redefine a classical sense of beauty in a contemporary mode.
Bishop arrived in New York in 1918 at the age of sixteen to study illustration at the New York School of Applied Design for Women. After two years, she enrolled at the Art Student’s League, where she studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller, Guy Pene du Bois, and Robert Henri. In 1926, she moved into a studio that looked out onto Union Square at Broadway and Fourteenth Street. At the time, the Union Square area was one of the busiest commercial and entertainment districts in the city, The sea of humanity that loitered in the park or passed through the neighborhood on a daily basis provided Bishop with a wealth of subjects for decades.
Isabel Bishop’s work is in the collections of major museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Cleveland Museum of Art; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She had her first one-person exhibition at Midtown Galleries in New York in 1933. Numerous solo exhibitions followed, including a major retrospective organized by the University of Arizona Museum of Art in 1974 that traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art and several other venues.