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 Myra Biggerstaff  (1905 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: New York/Nebraska/Indiana / France/Sweden      Known for: landscape, still life, genre and portrait painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
Myra Biggerstaff
from Auction House Records.
Abstract Waves
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Logansport, Indiana, Feb. 6, 1905; died Auburn, NB, 1999. Painter. Teacher. Attended Bethany College, Lindsborg from 1924-26 earning a teaching certificate enabling her to teach elementary school. Returned to Bethany in 1929 to work as an assistant to Birger Sandzén from 1929-31.

Traveled with Margaret Sandzén (Greenough) to Paris in 1932 where they studied at the Cite Universitaire and with Andre L’Hote.

Biggerstaff married Roland Kvistberg, a former language professor at Bethany, in Sweden in 1933. She studied at the Swedish Royal Academy’s graphic arts school with noted etcher Howard Sallsberg.

She returned to the U.S. sans husband after World War II, living first in Auburn, NB, then teaching at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, then moving to New York. She attended Columbia University Teachers College earning an MA.

She retired from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1972 and returned to Auburn, NB.
Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery; Museum of Nebraska Art

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Museum of Nebraska Art,, accessed Nov. 20, 2005; 100 Years of Art; Myra Biggerstaff: A Retrospective (Kearney: Museum of Nebraska Art, 1992)
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter and designer, Myra Biggerstaff served as Chair of the Textile Design Department of the Fashion Institute of Design in New York City from 1969 to 1972 and taught there from 1960 to 1972. She also taught at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas (1948-50).

She studied at Lindsborg, Kansas where she earned a BFA at Bethany College in 1932. In 1953, she earned an MFA from Columbia University and did addition study at the Swedish Royal Academy.

Her mediums are oil, watercolor, and pastel with watercolor as a specialty.

She died in Auburn, Nebraska in 1999.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
Myra Biggerstaff
1905 - 1999

Myra Biggerstaff’s career in the arts began more than fifty years ago. As a student and later teacher assistant at Bethany College she was remembered as “little Myra” by Birger Sandzén even though she had grown to be six feet tall.

Myra began exhibiting her paintings in 1934. An undeterred talent from the mid-west, she rose to a highly successful artist who was represented by The Little Gallery in New York. In New York she was also a fabric and scene designer, and Chairman of the Textile Department at Fashion Institute of Technology.

Upon the completion of her B.F.A. degree at Bethany in 1932, Myra went to Paris to continue studies at Cite Universitaire and with French artist, Andre L Hote. Her year in Paris was followed by a marriage to a Swedish language professor and the establishment of a home and work in Stockholm. Her return to America in 1947 launched her U.S. art and teaching careers, as did her success when she moved to New York.

Myra, exhibited internationally, has received numerous awards, critical acclaim, important fellowships, listings and publication.

She moved back to her hometown in Auburn, Nebraska in 1986. Until a few years ago Myra was continuing to work and exhibit at the Nemaha Valley Museum in Auburn; the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, and the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery.

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