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 Sarah Marindah Baker  (1899 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Virginia/Tennessee      Known for: figure, still life, landscape

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Ad Code: 3
Sarah Marindah Baker
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Courtesy of Frank Wright, artist and Professor of Drawing and Graphics, George Washington University, Washington, DC:

Biographical notes prepared by the late Louise George (Sarah's sister) in May 1977 for the catalogue of the Sarah Baker show at the Phillips Collection.

"Sarah Marindah Baker was born March 7, 1899 in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Thomas Henry and Bealle Jennings Baker. She was named for her paternal grandmother who was a painter- the first woman ever granted permission to copy paintings in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

From her earliest childhood Sarah was fascinated with painting and spent hours in the studio watching her grandmother and gathering up bits and pieces of discarded pastels for her own "art." Grandmother was no indulgent and affectionate old lady but a very impatient, self-centered woman who ignored the child but suffered her presence as long as she was quiet and unobtrusive.

In 1915, when Sarah was a sophomore in high school the family moved to Baltimore. Sarah went at once to the Maryland Institute of Art (in Baltimore) and registered in the night and Saturday classes in drawing and painting. When she graduated from high school, Maryland institute awarded her a two-year scholarship to the School of Art and Design.

On her graduation from the Maryland Institute, she won a two-year scholarship tot he Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia where she studied with Arthur Carles, Hugh Breckenridge, and Daniel Garber. (At the Pennsylvania Academy) Sarah won the Emlen Cresson Traveling Scholarship and spent ...three months traveling and visiting the museums and galleries in Europe and studying the work of the famous painters of France, Holland and Italy.

In 1925, Sarah spent a year in Paris studying with Andre L'Hote who, at the end of the year, urged her to stay in Paris and offered to see that her work was exhibited and sold. Sarah however felt that her future lay in America and would never be happy as an expatriate, so she returned to her home in Washington (DC).

In 1926 she won the gold medal award of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy for a self portrait. And in 1930, she was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship.

She took a job teaching art at the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School in Baltimore, but after a serious illness, she abandoned all plans for an art career and took a second position at St. Timothy's School for Girls in Catonsville, Maryland in order to make enough money to pay doctors and hospital bills.

In the fall of 1933, however, she met C. Law Watkins, associate director of the Phillips Memorial Gallery. He became interested in her and urged her to return to Washington whenever possible to join a group of young artists whom Duncan Phillips had invited to work on the top floor of the Gallery.

During World War II Miss Baker devoted all of her spare time to volunteer work. She taught wounded soldiers at Forest Glen Hospital.

In 1945, she returned to Washington where she and the sculptor William Chalfee stared the American University Art School in one of the old temporary buildings left over from the first world war (in ) the Watkins Gallery. Sarah continued to teach at American University until 1967 when she retired. In 1975, she had her last exhibition at American University.

Her pictures are included in the Phillips Collection, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Baltimore Museum, The Philadelphia Museum and the Norfolk Museum.

Sarah Baker died in New York in April 1983.

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