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 Hildreth Marie Meiere  (1892 - 1961)

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: murals-history and religion, mosaics

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Hildreth Meiere
An example of work by Hildreth Marie Meiere
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted September 2004, is from Louise Dunn, daughter of the artist.

Hildreth Meiere, a distinguished Art Deco muralist, mosaicist, painter and decorative artist, ranks with the very small number of women artists -- such as Violet Oakley, Berenice Abbott, Isabel Bishop and Georgia O'Keeffe -- whose achievements gained the recognition of the established art world during the first half of this Century.

Educated at New York's Convent of the Sacred Heart, Manhattanville, the Art Students' League, the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in Florence, Italy, she became a practitioner of the art of mosaic, and embellisher of architectural environments.

Her major commissions include the Nebraska State Capitol at Lincoln, and the National Academy of Sciences, the Municipal Center and the Resurrection Chapel of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.  In New York, her most famous designs are the Art-Deco plaques on the exterior wall of Radio City Music Hall.  Her work may be found in St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Temple Emanu-El, and the banking room of The Bank of New York (formerly the Irving Trust Company) at One Wall Street.

Her murals also appeared in Chicago's 1933 Century of Progress Fair, and the 1939-40 New York World's Fair.  An accomplished ecclesiastical artist, she created numerous altarpieces and stained glass windows.  During World War II, she supervised the creation of over five hundred portable altarpieces for military chaplains of all denominations -- seventy of which were her designs.

As she herself succinctly summarized her career: "Having begun at the top with the National Academy of Sciences and the Nebraska State Capitol, the long list of commissions, well over a hundred, have come of themselves.  For the past thirty-five years I have maintained a large studio and have supported myself by my work. . . . I have [also] been active in professional organizations, believing that we owe some of our time and energies to them." *

Hildreth Meiere served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters and the Liturgical Arts Society (the latter founded in her studio), was First Vice President of the Architectural League of New York (one of the first women members, she received its Gold Medal in Mural Painting in 1928), was a director of the Municipal Arts Society, an Associate of the National Academy of Design, and was appointed the first woman on the New York City Art Commission.

Hildreth Meiere as an artist was known as an Art-Deco muralist and decorator, as an ecumenical practitioner of American Liturgical Art, and as a creator of mosaics.  In 1956 she was the first woman honored with The Fine Arts Medal of the American Institute of Architects:  The tribute read: "A Master of Murals: the world of art might write your name high on the list of the great among our painters and write truly, but not fully.  Mosaic, terra cotta, leaded glass, metal, gesso -- these and still other media respond gratefully to the direction of your heart and. hands.  Your collaboration with architects and other artists brings more than the addition of beauty; it transfuses the joint concept and makes it indivisible.  In accepting one more token, added to all the expressions of grateful appreciation your work has earned, you will permit us the realization that you are giving the institute the greater honor."

Her name, all but forgotten, must be brought back before the public and to the art world.

1915 Gouache sketches of Margaret Anglin, San Francisco, CA
1916 Gouache sketches Pavlova Ballet, San Francisco, CA
1917 Costume designs, Metropolitan Opera Production of The Canterbury Pilgrims, New York, NY
c.1920 Alfred Lunt, Esq. Finnish Decorations in residence, WI
c.1920 S.L. Fuller, Esq. Painting decorations in residence, 43 Park Ave., New York, NY
1923 St. Mark's, Mt. Kisco, NY Reredos, panel painting
1924 St. Martin's, Providence, RI Reredos, panel painting
1924 Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, KY Memorial Tablet
1924 National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC Dome, Pendentives, Soffit arches
1924-29 Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, NB Ceilings, Domes, Vaults, Mosaic Floors, Tapestry
1926 St. John's Beverly Farms, MA Reredos
1927 Chicago University Chapel, Chicago, IL Medallion ceramic decorations in ceiling
1927 St. Paul's Chapel, New Haven, CT Reredos, panel painting
1927 Women's City Club, San Francisco, CA Theater Curtain
1928 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Apse: The Transfiguration, mosaics
1929 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Narthex, mosaics
1928-29 St. Paul's Chapel, Christ Church, Cranbrook, MI Reredos, panel painting
1929 Convent of the Sacred Heart, Overbrook, PA Reredos
1930 Manhattanville College, New York, NY Reredos, Side Chapel
1930 Temple Emanu-El, New York, NY Mosaics
1930 Baltimore Trust, Baltimore, MD (bank name has been changed) Mosaic Floor Panels
c.1930 Jesuit Novitiate, Wernersville, PA Mosaics apse, ceiling
1931 One Wall Street, New York, NY Lobby ceiling; Red Mosaic Banking Room
1931 St. Aloysius, Detroit, MI Mosaics
1932 Walker-Lespenard Tel. Co., New York, NY Mosaic Lobby Ceiling; Tile Wall Map
1932 RKO Building, Metal Decorations, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY
1933 Radio City Music Hall, Metal Decorations, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY
1933 St. Mark's on The Hill, Pikesville, MD Reredos
1933 "Century of Progress" World's Fair, Mural: "Progress of Women" Chicago, IL
1933 Chicago World's Fair, American Tel & Tel Exhibit: Terracotta Pool Floor, Chicago, IL
1933 St. Catherine of Siena, Baltimore, MD Mosaics
1935 St. Michael's Passionist Monastery, Union City, NJ Murals, Church
1935 St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, NY Remembrance shrine
1936 "Westport Room", Kansas City, MO RR Station murals in restaurant, cocktail lounge
1936-37 St. Charles Borromeo Church, Newark, NJ Stations of the Cross
1937 Post Office, Logan Square, Chicago, IL "The Post," Metal Sculpture
c.1938 Illinois Bell Telephone Co., "Spirit of Communication" Washington Street, Chicago, IL
1939 Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA Cartoons of Apse Vault, Chapel.
1939 Our Lady Queen of Angels, Reredos in Miniature Chapel, Chicago Art Institute: Created by Mrs. James Ward Thorne
1939-40 New York World's Fair: 8 large outdoor commissions
1940 St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, NY Altar, Lady Chapel
c.1940 Commissions for Ships: America, African Queen, Brazil: Dining Rooms, Playrooms, Lounges
1941 Ship: President Monroe, Portrait of President Monroe in lounge
1941 Municipal Center, Washington, DC Exterior Frieze, Terra Cotta
1942 Fordham University Church, New York, NY Reredos; painted on canvas
1943 Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, NY Mosaic Reredos
1943 St. James, Upper Montclair, NJ Reredos
1944 St. John's, Buffalo, NY Reredos
c.1945 Holy Trinity Church, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA Reredos: painted on canvas
1945-46 St. Louis Cathedral, St. Louis, MO Mosaics: Eastern Arch
1946 St. Mary's High School, Manhasset, NY Terracotta Reliefs on outside of building
1946 Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT Wood inlay, Our Lady, St. Joseph
c.1948 Assumption Church, Westport, CT Reredos, panel painting
1947 Old People's Home, Cleveland, OH Reredos, panel painting
1947 Hotel McAlpin, Cocktail Lounge, New York, NY Decorations: Marble Mosaic and Wood Intarsia
1948 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Stained Glass South Clerestory Window: Magnificat
1949 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Stained Glass South Clerestory Window: Gloria in Excelsis
1949 Library, Fordham University, New York, NY Fresco (?) Journey's of St. Issac Jogues first Catholic priest NYC 1643
1951 Washington National Cathedral, DC Mosaics: Chapel of the Resurrection
1952 Ship: SS United States, Cabin Class Lounge, Map of the Mississippi in Gesso and Metal-leaf
1955 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Stained Glass South Clerestory Window: Nunc Dimittis
1956 St. Bartholomew's, New York, NY Stained Glass North Clerestory Window: Benedicite
1956 Travelers Insurance Company, Hartford, CT Lobby Mosaic
1958-61 St. Louis Cathedral, St. Louis, MO Dome: 12 Apostles; Western Soffit; North Wall; Pendentives
1960 Prudential Life Insurance, Newark, NJ Marble mosaic design in lobby

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A mural artist who worked with mosaic, ceramics, metal, stained glass, and fresco, Hildreth Meiere said that her crowning achievement was the work she did at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln including the mosaic dome ceiling in the East Chamber.  She completed well over 100 murals including for the Cathedral in St. Louis, for Rockefeller Center and St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City, Union Station in Kansas City and the Cabin Class Lounge of the Deck of the ship SS United States.  She also gave lectures on mosaics and travelogues with slides.

Her styles, often expressing a middle ground in American taste, ranged from realism to art deco and "reflected many of the tensions that surface in mid-twentieth century American culture, as modernism accommodated the wishes of Americans in positions of power and issues of class, patronage, religion, and partitions" . . . (Sharer)

Committed to working hard as a professional, creative person, she objected to being singled out as a 'woman' artist.  However, her lifestyle, in contrast to many women of that era, was quite independent as a single, working parent.

Meiere was born in New York City in 1892, and was raised in an art-oriented family.  She expressed early talent and in her teen age years, determined to be an artist. She was allowed to study in Florence, Italy to begin her studies, and there was exposed to Classical and Renaissance Art.  Returning to the United States, she enrolled in the Art Students League in New York and was a student of Frank DuMond and Richard Miller.  She also studied in San Francisco at the California School of Fine Art with Frank Sloan.

After World War I, she based herself in New York and worked on Beaux Arts projects.  She became associated with architect, Bertram Goodhue, and some of the commissions she did with him included mosaic work at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York, the dome of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and the floors and ceilings of the Nebraska State Capitol.  In recognition of her skill in the Nebraska Capitol project, she received the 1928 Gold Medal in Mural Painting from the Architectural League of New York.

Hildreth Meiere died in New York City in 1961.

Jean Sharer, Hildreth Meiere, American Muralist. University of New Mexico, August 2001.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Hildreth Meiere is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Art Deco

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