An American Adventuress

7/21/17

"Collage with Colored Squares" Oil on Shan paper

Anna Walinska's life and body of work feels adventurous because it's so diverse. Ms. Walinska's who would be 111 years old today, came to my attention through an announcement for an all female graffiti show currently running in New York at Pen and Brush “Graffiti Summer Vacation,” I'm not typically drawn to graffiti art but this article caught my eye as it was all woman artists.

"Patriarch" 1960 Collage on paper

Little did I know that Anna Walinska born in 1906 was an artist during the Modern period and not a living contemporary. I wasn't quite sure how that fit with the graffiti theme because I expected to read about a group of living contemporary artists.

"Two Women" Pastel on paper

In looking at some of her work and reading about her life I can see why she would be included. Her work is bold and emotional, like graffiti art and it speaks to me about human condition and experience. At the age of 12 Walinska was studying at the Art Students League in NY after coming up with a way to pay the fee to do that. By 19 she was off living in Paris and was influenced by both Matisse and Picasso who were just emerging in their own right. At 49 she decided to journey around the world by herself spending four months in Burma where she came across Shan paper used in the collage featured at the top. Somewhere in between all that, she founded The Guild Art Gallery in NY and served as Assistant Creative Director of the Contemporary Art Pavilion at the New York World's Fair among other accomplishments and contributions. It's a rich history and there's so much more to reveal but I will leave that up to your level of interest. Ms. Walinska's body of work includes over 2000 pieces, many of which can be seen in the collections of museums around the world. Maybe I'll try to stop in at Pen and Brush! A Chronology
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