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 Jeanet Steckler Dreskin  (1921 - )

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Lived/Active: South Carolina/Louisiana      Known for: 'sere' painting, natural history drawing, medical illustration

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Biography from Greenville County Museum of Art:
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Jeanet Steckler Dreskin, born 1921, has spent the majority of her professional career as painter, printmaker, and educator in Greenville, South Carolina.  For four years, 1938 to 1942, she studied with Will Henry Stevens and Xavier Gonzalez at Newcomb College of Tulane University, and anatomy in night classes with John McCrady.  At graduation she was awarded the Ellsworth Woodward Award in painting.  The following year, 1943, she received a graduate certificate in medical art from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and took painting classes at the Maryland Institute.  During 1943-1944, she lived in New York where she was employed as a staff artist in the Vertebrate Anatomy Department fo the American Museum of Natural History and studied drawing at the Art Students League.  From 1946 to 1950 she resided in Chicago and was staff artist at the University of Chicago Medical School.  For the next several decades she continued work as a medical illustrator, using the income from that pursuit, as she said, "to support my art."

In 1950, she moved to Greenville in upstate South Carolina where she continues to reside, working in her studio on a daily basis.  She taught classes sponsored by the Greenville Fine Arts League (1950-1952 and 1956-1958), and then for ten years at the Gassway Mansion she served as Education Chairman of the Greenville Art Association.  From 1968 to 1975 she was the Director of the Museum School of Art at the Greenville County Museum, a program offering an associate degree.  After two years of study at Furman University and Clemson University, she became the first person to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Department of Visual Studies at Clemson University.  From 1981 to 1999, she taught for the summer program of the Governor's School for the Arts in Greenville.

In 1969, she invented her signature technique of burning layers of watercolor paper, collaging them, and painting them.  These "sere" paintings reflect her interest in ecological issues, overpopulation, and reveal her background in anatomical studies. While the sere paintings derive from a dramatically destructive technique, Dreskin sees them as symbolic of the cycles of nature.  Her later "Magic Carpet" series, both watercolors and lithographs, are more fanciful and hopeful, and rely upon her extensive travels for inspiration.  In her "Willawaws" watercolors she explores the rhythms and shapes of ocean waves.

Dreskin's list of exhibitions and awards is extensive; for instance between 1970 and 1973, while pursuing her Master's Degree at Clemson and raising four children, she had fourteen one-artist exhibitions.

Works by Dreskin can be found in the collection of the Greenville County Museum of Art, Columbia Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  She has been active in regional artists organizations, including the Guild of South Carolina Artists, South Carolina Watercolor Society, and the board of the Southern Graphics Council.

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