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 Laura Marie Greenwood  (1897 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: portrait, still life-floral

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Ad Code: 4
Laura Marie Greenwood
An example of work by Laura Marie Greenwood
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
LAURA MARIE GREENWOOD (American 1897-1951)

Laura Marie Greenwood, born in Philadelphia in 1897, was an artist well-respected and sought after in and around the Philadelphia area. While her work comprises a variety of subject matter and displays a varied use of technique and medium, she stays true to a style which is all her own. A style which is manifest in the strong, often impressionistic handling of her work, and in the freshness which seems naturally a part of each one of her paintings. As one admirer and patron would have it, Greenwood's painting is "ingenuous and fresh to the point of naiveté. May I say, beautiful and innocent."

In Philadelphia, Greenwood studied at Temple University and at La France Art Institute. In 1933, she graduated from the Moore Institute of Art, formerly the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Later she went on to study at the Barnes Foundation, and with Earle Horter, a Philadelphian Modernist. During her artistic career, Greenwood never strayed far from her native Philadelphia; she exhibited extensively at all of the city's important art galleries and institutions. Over the years, her work was shown also in New York, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. She was a member of the Plastic Club and later became an elected member of the Philadelphia Watercolour Club. Greenwood won numerous awards during her years as an exhibiting artist, including several gold medals.

The artist was most prolific with still lifes and portraits, and for these she received much praise. Her paintings of fair young women are often marked by that delicacy of tint and stroke characteristic of this painter; "they are imbued with an ethereal quality and are often masked with an idealistic beauty which seems a result of both her highly personal interpretation of the subject and her untainted vision.

Any trace of idealism in Greenwood's work might seem paradoxical given her attitude towards art and artist. Greenwood believed that art, from the tone of its conception through to its realization, was not solely the result of artistic vision, but was equally a product of those surrounding and influencing the artist in daily life. Her home life was as much a part of her art as her art was a part of her home life. Greenwood believed that while these are times when the creative worker longs for solitude, in reality, privacy and peace are a poor nourishment for any of the arts.

Greenwood's still lifes and floral exhibit the same appeal as her portraits; they are always vibrant and fresh. What is more, with these paintings one can see the development of her style and technique. Her brush stroke evolved from one of simplicity, in execution, delineating hard solid form, to one which was relatively loose and gentle, often evidencing a greater range of detail.

While Greenwood's primary medium was oil, her work in pastels makes clear an exceptional command of that medium, which prove that the artist has a deep understanding of the possibilities of pastel and its restrictions. Her watercolours, in addition, won great praise at exhibition; she went on to produce a significant number of works in this medium.

When the artist strayed from her two primary subjects it was always with great success. While studying at the Moore Institute, she focused on design; this is most apparent in the fine execution of her few landscapes. With these, she sets forth beautifully balanced compositions which are decorative, and often enhanced with delightful colour. Here also is evidence of her remarkable adaptability to current trends; in this case to Regionalism, a style unique to her contemporaries. Greenwood was an aware artist who interpreted the art movement and made it compatible with her own.

In addition to being an artist of award winning paintings, Greenwood was a teacher of fine art and a lecturer on American Art history. She was also an active participant in her community, during a time when it was most needed, contributing her part to local and national causes and helping to community affairs. In the end, however, it seems her paintings are her most significant contribution. They are unceasing in their ability to intrigue and delight the viewer. And as her audience grows, the significance of her gift grow ever stronger.

Source: Turak Gallery

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