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Edna (Hibel) Plotkin

 (1917 - 2015)
Edna (Hibel) Plotkin was active/lived in Massachusetts, Florida.  Edna Plotkin is known for mother and child figure painting, lithographs, ink and crayon drawing.

Edna (Hibel) Plotkin

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Edna (Hibel) Plotkin
Edna Hibel, a painter of sentimental pictures of children, has had a more than 60-year career as painter and lithographer and promoter of peace through exhibitions of her artwork.

She was born in 1917 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents were Abraham and Lena Hibel, and she was raised in the Boston area and educated at Brookline High School where she met her future husband, Theodore Plotkin.

She began to paint when she was nine years old and learned watercolor during summers at the shore where her family vacationed in Maine and Hull, Massachusetts.

Hibel studied at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, from 1935-39, receiving a Sturtevant Traveling Fellowship to Mexico. In Boston, in 1966, she began lithography, continuing in 1970 in Zurich, where she still works every year. She has created lithographic works with up to 32 stones (or colors) on paper, silk, wood veneer and porcelain. The latter pieces are called lithographs on porcelain and result from a complicated process, that she keeps a secret, whereby she transfers stone lithographic color separations onto Bavarian hard paste porcelain. Hibel has created the "Arte Ovale" series and various plaques with this technique.

She organized the Edna Hibel Museum of Art, in Jupiter, Florida, to display and promote her work and also created a United Nations stamp, "Mother Earth."

In 1995, she was commissioned by the Foundation of the U.S. National Archives to commemorate the 75th anniversary of women receiving the universal right to vote. At the ceremony, Ms. Lucy Baines Johnson referred to Hibel as the "Heart and Conscience of America."

In November, 2001, the World Cultural Council based in Mexico City gave her the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts.

Hibel's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in more than 20 countries including Russia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, and the United States, and under the royal patronage of Count and Countess Bernadotte of Germany, Count Thor Bonde of Sweden, Prince and the late Princess Rainier of Monaco and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Pope John Paul II gave her a medal of honor as did the late Belgian King Baudouin. She also received honorary Doctoral degrees including from Eureka College, and Northwood University of Florida, Michigan and Texas. She also has received many humanitarian honors for her charitable efforts for children's and medical charities.

Her exhibitions "Golden Bridge" and " Peace Through Wisdom" were efforts to promote peace and cultural understanding between China, the United States, Yugoslavia and Russia, and a television documentary titled "Hibel's Russian Palette" was based on her trips and art shows in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. In 2001, Edna received a Lifetime Achievement Award from "Women in the Visual Arts," an organization of artists in the South Florida area.

Today (2003) from her home and studio in Riviera Beach, Florida, Hibel continues to paint in oil and watercolor and also hand enhances her original stone lithographs, serigraphs and giclee with pastels, oil paint, gold leaf, pencil, ink, conte crayon and charcoal.


Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Edna (Hibel) Plotkin
The following obituary of Edna Hibel Plotkin was submitted by Michael Ditizio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By Hannah Winston
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Artist Edna Hibel Plotkin, famous for her Mother and Children series of paintings, died Friday in Palm Beach Gardens.

She was 97, said her son, Andy Plotkin, of Palm Beach Gardens. He said his mother's presence will be missed by many people, but her art and charity touched so many as well.

"She loved to paint people close to the earth," he said. The Hibel Museum of Art, founded in 1977 in Palm Beach and now housed on Florida Atlantic University's Jupiter campus, has more than 2,000 original paintings, sculptures and porcelain works.

The museum stayed in Palm Beach until 1999 when the Edna Hibel Art Foundation sold the building at 150 Royal Poinciana Plaza for $1.94 million to the plaza's owners. The museum moved that year to Lake Worth. In June 2002, the museum moved to Florida Atlanta University.

Mrs. Plotkin, who grew up in Boston and raised her children there, made Palm Beach County her home for more than 45 years. She lived and worked in the Singer Island home she shared with her husband, Theodore Plotkin, who died in 2012.

Andy Plotkin said his mother got her start in painting because of a math teacher. Because she was so good at math, she would be done well before the rest of the class, frustrating her teacher. "The teacher told her, 'Wouldn't you like to paint, Edna?'" he said.

The teacher handed her some paper, brushes, watercolor paints and an issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and she painted a remarkable likeness of the magazine cover.

"She said she must have walked around with a pencil and paintbrush in hand after that," her son said.

Mrs. Plotkin graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1939 and studied in Mexico on a fellowship. When she returned to Boston at the age of 23, she was one of the youngest artists at the time to have a piece of her work bought by a major American museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, her son said.

She traveled the world with her husband and three sons, having her art shown in more than 20 countries across four continents.

Though her paintings and lithography ranged from landscapes to portraits, she is most famous for her Mother and Children paintings, which have been compared with Mary Cassatt's work and other Impressionist art.

She leaves her sons, Andy, Richard and Jon, and their wives, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A memorial will be held in January.

Biography from Hibel Museum of Art
Following is an obituary of the artist.

World Renowned Artist and Humanitarian Dies

Edna Plotkin, 97, born Edna Hibel, the first of two children, in 1917 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, to immigrant parents Abraham Bert and Lena Rubin Hibel, died recently. During the past 45 years, Edna had lived and worked in her home in Palm Beach County, Florida. 

Edna discovered her artistic talent at age nine, and received international training under Irish, Greek, Russian, and German master artists.  A graduate in 1934 of Brookline High School, and the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in 1939, Edna traveled and painted in Mexico under the auspices of the Ruth B. Sturtevant Traveling Fellowship from the Boston Museum School.  At 23, upon her return from Mexico, the acquisition of one of her paintings by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts made Edna at that time the youngest artist to have art purchased by a major American museum. Also at that time, Edna married her high school sweetheart, Theodore Plotkin. Until his death in 2012, Edna and Theodore had been married 72 years.

Over the next 60 years, Edna Hibel attracted an international following for her oil paintings, frescoes. watercolors, stone lithographs, and work in porcelain.  Her exhibitions, spanning four continents, have been displayed in prominent museums, galleries, palaces, and universities in more than 20 countries, including ground-breaking exhibitions in the U.S., England, Sweden, the former Soviet Union, Japan, Germany, Israel, Costa Rica, and Brazil.  In 1986, Edna’s exhibition in the National Gallery in Beijing was the first by an American woman in The People’s Republic of China; and in 1988, more than 3,000 people attended her opening in the Dubrovnik Museum in the former Yugoslavia. 

In 1977, more than 3,000 admirers visited the Hibel Museum of Art during its opening in Palm Beach, Florida.  Founded by Ethelbelle and Clayton Bion Craig, the Hibel Museum of Art—at the time the world's only non-profit, public institution dedicated to the art of a living American woman—has been housed since 2001 on the Jupiter Campus of Florida Atlantic University.

Edna Hibel has been favorably compared by critics to Renaissance and Impressionist artists such as Michelangelo, Renoir, and Mary Cassatt.  Notes Thomi Wolfensberger, chief lithographer of Wolfensberger Studio in Zurich, Switzerland, "When it comes to stone lithography, no one even comes close to Edna Hibel. There is Edna Hibel and then there is everyone else."

Among Edna's major awards and recognition are in 2001 being only the second American to receive the World Cultural Council's Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Art, a United Nations commission of a U.N. stamp, a U.S. National Archives commission commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women universal suffrage, a personal introduction to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a proclamation and medal from Pope Paul II, a citation and medal from King Albert Baudouin of Belgium, her induction into Germany’s Count Lennart Bernadotte's Order of the Green Apron, and a Cultural Award from the American Association of Museums for her documentary film, Hibel’s Russian Palette, broadcast to millions across the country. 

In addition, Edna has received six honorary doctorate degrees in various arts and letters,  the most by any artist.  For many years the Edna Hibel Society, founded by Sandra and Dr. E. Marshal Goldberg, and under the direction of Ralph Burg, was the world’s oldest artist fellowship. 

Despite all her artistic achievements during nine decades of work, Edna was most proud of her humanitarian efforts, through which more than a million dollars has been raised for educational, health, and children's charities.  Many Jewish charities, including B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, have honored Edna for her charitable work. 

Edna leaves behind her three sons and daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren, and a great grandchild. 

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About  Edna (Hibel) Plotkin

Born:  1917 - Chelsea, Massachusetts
Died:   2015 - Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Known for:  mother and child figure painting, lithographs, ink and crayon drawing