Isabel (Wolff) Bishop
(1902 - 1988)
Isabel (Wolff) Bishop was active/lived in New York, Ohio. Isabel Bishop is known for city genre, street scenes and figure painting, graphic design.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Isabel Bishop was a leading painter and printmaker in New York City during the early and middle part of the 20th century. Her subject matter was urban life of common people in lower Manhattan, and she showed great sensitivity to individual personalities. Along with Reginald Marsh and the Soyer brothers, Bishop was an outstanding, determined realist when Abstract Expressionism was the all-prevalent style.
She spent her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, and in 1918, at age sixteen, went to New York to study illustration at the New York School of Applied Design for Women. She attended the Art Students League where Kenneth Hayes Miller and Guy Pene du Bois became major influences. Hayes inspired her to turn to the street life of New York for subject matter and insisted on fine draftsmanship. DuBois made her aware of character and personality differences.
In 1925, she turned to etching, beginning with nude studies and then turning to vignettes of everyday life. For many years she had a studio on Union Square at 14th Street, and the Square provided her with much human activity subject matter. She shared a subject interest with Reginald Marsh, and she traveled with him and Kenneth Hayes Miller in Europe in 1931 to study the Old Masters.
In 1938, she worked as a Muralist for the W.P.A., and did a mural for the U.S. Post Office in New Lexington, Ohio, and also illustrated the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice in 1946. She was an elected Member of the National Academy of Design, a Life Member of the National Academy of Design, and had representation in New York with the Midtown Gallery.
Source: American Women Artists by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein
Isabel Bishop (Mrs. Harold G. Wolfe) painter, etcher, and teacher was
born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3, 1902. Her early childhood years
were spent in Detroit, Michigan where she took up her first formal art
training at the Wicker Art School. In 1918, at age sixteen, Bishop
went to New York to study illustration at the New York School of
Applied Design for Women. She also had brief instruction at the Moore
Institute. It was her studies at the Art Students League in New York
under Kenneth Hayes Miller and Guy Pene du Bois that had the greatest
impact on her professional career. DuBois made her aware of character
and personality differences. Miller inspired her to turn to the street
life of New York for subject matter and insisted on fine
draftsmanship. She later traveled with Miller and Reginald Marsh in
Europe in 1931 to study the Old Masters.
Isabel Bishop worked at
painting, drawing and etching for many years in a studio on New York's
Union Square. Typical subjects of Bishop were "two girls in the
subway, one girl eating ice cream, an old man sewing in the park, an
old man leaning over to pick up a cigar butt, etc. Her people are what
they are no more, no less. But they are very much what they are---they
never are what they are not; for her perception cuts to the truth. Her
art is at once original and traditional as is that of Thomas Eakins."
(Reginald Marsh) Bishop's output was small owing to much erasing and
reworking in her art.
She built up her easel paintings in
various layers of tempera and oil over usually a gray striped gesso
ground, which was seen through transparently or semi-transparently with
opaque touches that radiated and shimmered in delicate touches of color
and gray. Her works in this style were said to "sparkle, grow weak,
dissolve, reappear, pass again into solid points of relief, move here,
move there, suggesting the style of matchless sketches of Reubens; they
give great delight." These misty semi-transparent works appear
limitless in space.
She was also known for genre, portraits,
streets, parks, children, nudes, subway and hot dogs. Although her
early works were mostly that of easel paintings, Bishop was a leading
printmaker on the New York City art scene during the end of the first
quarter and early middle part of the 20th century. Her printed matter
took on the same subjects as her earlier mixed media works, social
realism depicting the everyday urban life of common people in lower
Manhattan. Along with Reginald Marsh, Moses and Raphael Soyer and many
others, Bishop was an outstanding, determined realist when Abstract
Expressionism was the all-prevalent style.
Bishop, along with
many of the other "turn-of-the-century" artists holding true to their
early artistic convictions lost favor with the critics and art patrons
to the new school of Abstract Expressionism, Modernism and the like.
Today, long after the re-discovery of this preserved purists group
their works are eagerly sought after. She taught at the Art Students'
League from 1936 to 1937 and was a life member. In 1938, she worked as
a Muralist for the W.P.A., and did a mural for the U.S. Post Office in
New Lexington, Ohio, and also illustrated the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice (Book of the Month Club edition 1946). Bishop also taught at Yale and Skowhegan Art School, Maine.
was a member of the National Academy of Design; National Institute of
Arts and Letters; Society of American Etchers, Gravers, Lithographers,
and Woodcutters; Art Students' League, an American Group and others.
Bishop exhibited extensively during her life including Berkshire
Museum; Whitney; Midtown Galleries, NYC; Venice Biennials and other.
She won awards for her work at he American Artists Group, etching;
National Academy of Design; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC;
American Society of Graphic Artists; National Arts Club; Audubon
Artists; Royal Society of Arts, London and others. She is represented
in numerous important public and private collections. Bishop passed
away in New York City in 1988.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1902, Isabel Bishop moved to New York at
the age of sixteen to study art at both the New York School of Applied
Design for Women and the Art Students League. With a studio on
14th Street, Bishop was identified as a member of the Fourteenth Street
School, along with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Reginald Marsh.
Although Bishop was influenced by Renaissance and Baroque art, her
late-1920s to the mid-1930s work is characterized by depiction of the
urban working class and destitute men and women around Union
Square. She served as a perceptive observer of appearance and
action and sought to capture the everyday behaviors of normal people.
Later in her life, she became enamored with the hustle and bustle of
college students around New York University, which was a return to the
very street scenes of her earlier days.
Staff, Columbus Museum