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Last updated: 6/23/2019

Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Master Drawings 2003 / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Isabel Bishop (American, 1902-1988)

20th-Century Drawings / 20th-Century Drawings 2
Alechinsky Drawings / Artigas Drawings / Bird Drawings / Brinkman Drawings / Garache Drawings / Himmelfarb Drawings
Lledos Drawings / Titus-Carmel Drawings / Wayne Taylor Drawings / McGibbon Drawings / Joan Root Drawings
Barbier / Besnard / Henri-Edmond Cross / Leonor Fini / Goncharova / Laurencin / Lucebert / Nakian / Rouault / Schlichter / Vertes
Bishop / Bohrod / Colescott / Sparrow

Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Isabel Bishop, Louise Bourgeois, Jonna Rae Brinkman, Louisa Chase, Chryssa, Sue Coe
Susan Crile, Lesley Dill, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Nancy Graves, Harmony Hammond, Judy Chicago,
Anita Jung, Elaine de Kooning, Joyce Kozloff, Lee Krasner, Karen Kunc, Ellen Lanyon, Georgia Marsh, Suzanne McClelland,
Phyllis McGibbon, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, Judith Murray, Louise Nevelson, Judy Pfaff,
Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Joan Root, Susan Rothenberg, Betye Saar, Niki de St. Phalle, Hollis Sigler, Kiki Smith,
Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, May Stevens, Dorothea Tanning, and Emmi Whitehorse

Josef Albers / Richard Anuszkiewicz / Charles Arnoldi / Leonard Baskin / Jack Beal / Ed Baynard / Norman Bluhm / Aaron Bohrod
Richard Bosman /James Brown / Alexander Calder / Warrington Colescott / Christo / George Cramer / Allan D'Arcangelo
Willem de Kooning / Richard Diebenkorn /Jim Dine / Sam Francis / Sam Gilliam / Adolph Gottlieb / Philip Guston
John Himmelfarb / / Robert Indiana / Paul Jenkins / Jasper Johns / Allen Jones / Lester Johnson / Alex Katz / R. B. Kitaj
Ellsworth Kelly/ Nicholas Krushenick / Jacob Lawrence / Roy Lichtenstein / Richard Lindner / Manel Llèdos
Robert Motherwell / Reuben Nakian / Barnet Newman / Claes Oldenberg / Jules Olitski / Philip Pearlstein / Mel Ramos
Robert Rauschenberg / Don Reitz / Larry Rivers / James Rosenquist / George Segal / Alan Shields / Steven Sorman / Robert Stackhouse
Frank Stella / Carol Summers / Wayne Taylor / William (Bill) Weege / John Wesley / Tom Wesselman
Jack Youngerman / Adja Yunkers
Like many of her peers (including Minna Citron and Reginald Marsh), Isabel Bishop studied with Kenneth Hays Miller at the Art Students League in New York City. Miller inspired her to turn to the street life of New York and stressed the importance of drawing. in 1931 she traveled with Miller and Reginald Marsh in Europe to study the Old Masters. For most of her career as a successful and acclaimed figurative painter and printmaker, Isabel Bishop depicted anonymous, urban, working-class people singularly or in groups, in outdoor settings or in the subway below Union Square in New York where she had her studio. Her figures have substance and dignity that seems distinct from their everyday activities, nondescript clothes, and often grungy surroundings: not just city-dwellers, Bishop's women have an inner dignity that sustains them, like Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses, during their daily odysseys through the city. Bishop's female portraits, often nude, sometimes show single figures, sometimes groupings, and convey a relaxed intimacy in which relationships between women emerge apart from the hectic hustle and bustle of the city. As Reginald Marsh observed, "Her people are what they are no more, no less. But they are very much what they are—they never are what they are not; for her perception cuts to the truth. Her art is at once original and traditional as is that of Thomas Eakins.” Bishop was a leading printmaker on the New York City art scene during the middle third of the 20th century, showing frequently with the Associated American Artists gallery, who published many of her prints and two editions of a catalogue raisonne of her etchings. After the triumph of Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and later contemporary art movements, Bishop, along with her peers (particularly Reginald Marsh, Moses and Raphael Soyer, and Minna Citron) lost some measure of popularity with the critics; yet here works never disappeared from the public view, and a major book study and a video kept her before the public eye. (For illustrations of her works see the entry in The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists.)

Bishop taught at the Art Students’ League from 1936 to 1937 and was a life member. In 1938, she worked as a Muralist for the W.P.A., and did a mural for the US Post Office in New Lexington, Ohio. She also taught at Yale and the Skowhegan Art School, Maine. She was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Society of American Etchers, Gravers, Lithographers, and Woodcutters. Bishop exhibited widely during her life including the Berkshire Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Associated American Artists, and the Midtown Galleries, NYC. She was featured at several Venice Biennials and won awards for her work at the American Artists Group (etching), the National Academy of Design, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the American Society of Graphic Artists, the National Arts Club, the Royal Society of Arts (London), and others. Her works are in the permanent collections of at least 39 museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, the Corcoran Gallery , the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian, and the National Academy of Design.

Select bibliography: Una A. Johnson, Isabel Bishop: Prints and Drawings (NY: Brooklyn Museum, 1964); Karl Lunde, Isabel Bishop (NY: Abrams, 1973); Sheldon Reich, Isabel Bishop (Tuscon: The University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1974; 1st retrospective exhibit held in an American museum featuring paintings, drawings, etchings and aquatints by Isabel Bishop); Susan Pirpiris Teller, Isabel Bishop: Etchings and Aquatints. A Catalogue Raisonne (NY: Associated American Artists, 19); Helen Yglesias, Isabel Bishop (NY: Rizzoli, 1988).
Isabel Bishop (American, 1902-1988), Figure Studies. Double-sided pen, pencil and wash drawing, 1930. Inscribed within rectangular border: "To Helen with Love" and signed "Isabel Bishop." BIshop was a studied at the Art Students League in New York with Kenneth Hayes Miller. She produced a large body of etchings and paintings. Her work has been widely shown. Image size: 135x145mm. Price: Please call or email for current pricing information.
Isabel Bishop (American, 1902-1988), Figure Studies (Verso). Double-sided pen, pencil and wash drawing, 1930. Inscribed recto within rectangular border: "To Helen with Love" and signed "Isabel Bishop." BIshop was a studied at the Art Students League in New York with Kenneth Hayes Miller. She produced a large body of etchings and paintings. Her work has been widely shown. Image size: 135x145mm. Price: Please call or email for current pricing information.
(This is the reverse of the drawing to the left.)

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