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 Denny Sonke Winters  (1905 - 1985)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Maine/Michigan / Mexico      Known for: abstraction, mod views, collage

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Ad Code: 3
Denny Sonke Winters
An example of work by Denny Sonke Winters
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Ruby Sonke on March 17, 1905, Denny Winters had the nickname of Denny from birth.  Her parents were James Henry Sonke and Eva Taylor Sonke.  She graduated from Grand Rapids Central High School in 1925.

From 1928 through the mid 1930's, she lived in Chicago.  Her first art show was in 1928 at the Raymond Katz Little Gallery.  She married an artist, John Winters, who was a student with her at the Art Institute of Chicago, and they remained married about one year.  In 1932 she opened her first studio in Chicago and graduated from The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. 

In the mid 1930s, she moved to Mexico for a year and studied the works of Mexican painter Diego Rivera.  Then she moved to California and lived there for seven years.

In 1938 she opened her second studio in Los Angeles, and at this time she also designed sets for Duke Ellington's musical Jump for Joy and designed costumes for the Goldwyn film North Star.  She also helped with sets for the Bill Baird puppets.

In the early 40's Denny moved to Woodstock, New York and at this time was married to artist Herman Cherry.  She lived in New York for approximately seven years, and in 1945 joined with the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York City.  In 1948 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and went to France and Italy to study for one year.

She moved to Rockport Maine in 1950, and by then had married author Lew Dietz. They remained married until her death in 1985.  While in Maine she was one of the founders of Maine Coast Artists.  In 1973 she was awared the Skowhegan Award for the "Outstanding Resident Artist in Maine."  At this time she illustrated one of Lew Dietz's books, Savage Summer.

During her career she had one person shows at Rehn Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Art, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Riverside Museum, Philadelphia Art Alliance, University of Maine, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Frank Peris Gallery (CA) and others.

According to a brochure from the Rehn Gallery by 1976 Denny had more then 75 one-person shows in galleries across the country.

She had Group Exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Chicago Art Institute, Carnegie Institute, Los Angeles Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, SanDiego Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, Portland Museum, Colby College and Maine Coast Artists.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Diane Winters, daughter of John Winters

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, lithographer and sculptor, Denny Sonke Winters was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 17, 1907.

Winters studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. She was the wife of artist Herman Cherry and a resident of Los Angeles in the 1930s.

By the mid-1940s she had moved to Woodstock, NY and later lived in Rockport, ME.

California Water Color Society.

Art Institute of Chicago, 1936, 1937, 1945
San Francisco Museum of Art, 1939, 1941, 1943 (prizes)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1939-45, 1944 (solo)
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1940
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1947
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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