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 Signe E Larson  (1908 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: Kansas/Nebraska/Iowa      Known for: modernist painting, chalk talk artist

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Winding Road In Winter
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Buxton, Iowa, Oct. 16, 1908 and died in Cordova, Nebraska, Dec. 4, 1993, Signe Larson was a painter and chalk-talk lecturer.  She studied with Birger Sandzén at Bethany College where she earned a BFA in 1933, and studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, University of Colorado, and the University of Washington.

Larson received special training from John Folinsbee, Harry Leith-Ross and Carlos Lopez.  She was deaf since birth.

Her sister Elvira assisted Signe with her chalk lectures, which she presented throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Source:
COLLECTIONS:
Mural in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Clay Center; Beach Museum; Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery

MEMBERSHIPS:
Prairie Water Color Painters.

SOURCES:
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; Festival of Kansas Arts and Crafts. Catalog: Arts and Crafts of Kansas: an Exhibition held in Lawrence, Feb. 18-22, 1948 in the Community Building. Lawrence: World Co., 1948; Arts in Kansas N.P.: American Association of University Women. Kansas Division. 1958; Beach; Sandzén archives
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.

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
Signe E. Larson (1908-1993)

Signe Larson was born in Buxton, Iowa. She was the youngest of four children and despite lifelong deafness, she was a successful artist. Her family moved to Lindsborg, Kansas in 1927 so that she could attend Bethany College. She studied under Birger Sandzen (1871- 1954) until 1933, when she graduated. She also later studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Washington and the Chicago Art Institute.

With her sister Elvira, she traveled across the United States, Canada and Europe presenting chalk lectures, called Chalk Talks, in churches. Her paintings and prints were awarded prizes in regional and national exhibitions. Her favorite painting medium was watercolor. Several of her watercolors were reproduced in Ford Times Magazine.

A mural by Larson hangs in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Clay Center, Kansas. In Lindsborg, her Village Spire Studio and the home of her and her sister were the centers of her life. Watercolors and prints by Signe have found their way into homes across America.

In 1984, having moved to a care home in Cordova, Nebraska, she was named "Alumni Artist of the Year" by Bethany College. She was the featured artist for Hyllningsfest in 1993. Her painting of four women at a Swedish smorgasbord served as the program cover for the festival.

Signe Larson died in December 1993, and was buried at Cordova, Nebraska.

Additional Notes:

Signe Larson attended Washington University in St. Louis, on a scholarship at age 10. She took special studies with John Folinsbee, Harry Leith-Ross, and Carlos Lopez. She was a member of the Prairie Water Color Painters, an organization founded in Lindsborg, Kansas by Birger Sandzen. Paintings by Signe were exhibited in the Six States Art Exhibition at the Joslyn Memorial Art Museum in Omaha in 1947, and again in 1948.

Her print titled Thy Kingdom Come was published in an art edition and later reproduced by off-set press printing [It is difficult to distinguish between the art edition and the reproduction of this print]. Copies of this reproduction have been purchased for churches, colleges and homes throughout the United States.

Her paintings were accepted in many of the annual Kansas Painters shows at Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg, Kansas. One painting won a prize at the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in August 1957 at Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Solo shows of her paintings were mounted at the Old Log Theatre, Excelsior, Minnesota in June 1959. The Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg exhibited her paintings in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972 and 1980. The Sandzen Gallery also have her works in their permanent collection. She received first prize for Watercolor in the Topeka Art Guild Exhibition in 1963.

Signe and her sister Elvira traveled extensively. In the spring and summer of 1956 they toured ten countries in Europe for two and one half months.

Her name was listed in the Second Edition of Who's Who of American Women; Dictionary of International Biography, London, England, 1962; and Who's Who in the Midwest, Vol. 8.

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