Janet Lippincott (1918-2007)
Exhibition | Janet Lippincott: A 70-Year Retrospective
Lippincott was born in New York City into a life of privilege and was exposed to the cultural life of the city at a young age. She lived in Paris for a while when she was young and there she saw her first Picasso and art by other modern artists. Back in New York at age fifteen she took a life drawing class at the Art Students League and later enrolled there full time to continue her art education.
She was a member of the Women’s Army Corp during World War II where she served on General Eisenhower's administrative staff. Lippincott had a strong personality, some described her as “ornery”, as evidenced by a story she related of when one day General George Patton came into the office and demanded to see Eisenhower right away. Whereupon she told him to sit down and be quiet till it was his turn.
After the war, in 1949, she enrolled in Emil Bisttram's School of Art located in Taos on the G.I. Bill. Later she studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center and the San Francisco Art Institute. She moved to Santa Fe in 1957 and built a home and studio on Canyon Road. She was one of the few Southwestern artists at that time who was working exclusively in the modern tradition. "After the war, I came out here, and no one was doing any modern painting. Here I came with my screwball ideas and shook everybody up.”
In a Southwest Art article in 1980 she stated, “Abstract painting is an intellectual process. To be a modern painter and to make a truthful statement is this sum total of all I am and what I am continually striving to create. I am a painter and my feelings are all I can contribute to this world.”
Throughout her career, Lippincott worked in several different media. Aside from her focus on painting, she continue to attend figure drawing classes in Santa Fe until 1987. She also created lithographs at the Tamarind Institute and sculpture at the Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque.
The Santa Fean Magazine wrote upon her death in 2007, “Compositionally akin to Matisse and Picasso, but with softer contrasts, kinder hues and an innately more fluid if gauzy way with lines and shapes, Lippincott ended up an artist’s artist, and created lasting images of the female form and abstract arrangements of emotionally rich and inviting shapes.”
She, like Georgia O'Keeffe and other women working in the modernist vein had to often fight for the opportunities afforded male artists of the period. But whatever obstacles she faced she never wavered from her strong and committed artistic vision. The best of her work stands equally alongside noted artists of the period.
Awards: 1956 Annual Circle Exhibition, Roswell Museum, Roswell, New Mexico; 1957 Purchase Award, 10th Graphic Exhibition, NM Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM; 1958 12th Graphic Exhibition, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Exhibitions: 1957 Los Artisanos, Las Vegas, New Mexico; 1957 Mexican-American Cultural Institute, Mexico City; 1958 Abstractions in Colored India Ink, La Galleria Escondida, Taos, NM; 1959 Mid American Exhibition, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
Collections: Her work is held in private collections throughout the US and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; Musuem of Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico; State Capital Art Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Harwood Foundation, Taos, New Mexico.
See paintings by Janet Lippincott in our collection.