a project by Andrea Geyer. 2012 - ongoing

Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) was an American sculptor, painter, printmaker, jewelry designer, and teacher, most renowned for her largescale, abstract public sculptures. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 1930 with a major in art and minors in anthropology and philosophy. She had her first solo exhibition, at a San Francisco gallery, even before graduation. Her art education continued in the early 1930s at Mills College, where she took a master class with Alexander Archipenko and met László Moholy-Nagy and György Kepes. Falkenstein’s experience with those artists reinforced her interest in abstraction, as well as her belief that functional considerations do not detract from a work’s aesthetic appeal.

Helen Farnsworth-Mears (1872–1916) was an American sculptor known for her large-scale public commissions in bronze. She studied at the State Normal School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, then studied art in New York City under Augustus Saint-Gaudens before moving to Paris in 1895 to work with Denys Puech, Alexandre Charpentier, and Frederick MacMonnies. Her first success, before any formal art training, was Genius of Wisconsin, a nine-foot marble sculpture executed by the Piccirilli Brothers and commissioned by the State of Wisconsin when she was just twenty-one. While producing work for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, Mears became known as one of the “White Rabbits,” a group of Lorado Taft’s female assistants. In 1907 Mears and her sister, writer Mary Mears, were the first artists-in-residence at MacDowell Colony. Mears made New York her residence and exhibited there and in Chicago. In 1910 George B. Post, the architect of the Wisconsin State Capitol, attempted to secure the services of the well-known sculptor Daniel Chester French to create a statue of Wisconsin to be placed on top of the dome; when French turned down the commission, Post recommended Mears for the job. Without waiting for a formal contract, she immediately began working on a model, even visiting French during the course of her work. Shortly thereafter, Post received a letter from French indicating that he was interested in the task and was quickly awarded it. Mears was paid for the work she had already done, but the loss of the commission was a shock from which she never recovered.

Florence Farr (1860–1917) was an actress, activist, and writer born in Kent, England. She attended Cheltenham Ladies College and Queen’s College, the first woman’s college in England. Shortly after finishing her studies she became interested in theater. Farr lived in Bedford Park, a bohemian area in London known to be home of an intellectual avant-garde. She was outspoken about sex positivity, a highly radical stance in Victorian England. Farr took a short hiatus from acting to focus on her involvement with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society similar to Freemasonry but with women admitted on an equal basis to men. Her time there, and subsequent involvement with the Theosophical Society of London, fed into later work in theater where she combined her interest in ancient Egypt with contemporary concerns of the women’s rights movement. Farr spent the last years of her life working as teacher in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In 1916 she developed breast cancer, leading to a mastectomy, a physical change she likened to becoming an Amazon warrior. When she died at the age of fifty-six a year later, her ashes were scattered in the sacred Kalyaani River.

Jessie Redmon Fauset  (1882–1961) was a writer and editor born in Camden County, New Jersey. She was the first African-American graduate from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Fauset later studied classical languages at Cornell University and French at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she continued studies at the Sorbonne in Paris during her summers off working as a teacher. Fauset was the literary editor of the Crisis, an integral publication of the Harlem Renaissance. While at the Crisis she fostered the careers of many prominent African-American modernist writers She was a member of the NAACP and represented the organization in the Pan-African Congress in 1921. Fauset published accounts of her extensive travels, most notably five essays from a trip with painter Laura Wheeler Waring.

Ilse Fehling (1896–1982) was a Polish costume designer, theater designer, and sculptor. Fehling’s introduction to costume design began during her education at the Reimann School in Berlin in 1919 where she took courses in costume studies, fashion, nude drawing, and art history, while simultaneously studying sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule (College of Applied Arts) in Berlin. After the completion of both courses Fehling enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar, deepening her knowledge and skills in the same disciplines. There Fehling developed of a rotating round stage for stick puppets that she patented in 1922. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1923 Fehling freelanced until 1927 when she had her first solo exhibition at the Fritz Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin. In 1932 she received the Rome Prize of the Prussian Academy of Arts award, which allowed her a study visit to Rome. Upon her return to Germany, however, the Academy rejected her artwork as “degenerate” in accordance with political pressure from Nazi rule. Fehling subsequently focused on stage and costume design, becoming the head designer for Tobis-Europa in 1940, where she implemented a system of recycling used costumes. In 1952 Fehling reentered sculpting after the majority of her work was bombed and seized. Fehling’s last known exhibitions and projects are dated up to 1965.

Caroline Marmon Fesler (c. 1878–1960) was an art collector and patron born in Richmond, Indiana. The daughter of Indianapolis industrialist and automobile manufacturer Daniel Marmon, she graduated from Smith College in 1900 and studied painting in Europe. Her collection focused on twentieth-century modernist works and included Grey Hills by her friend Georgia O’Keeffe. Fesler served on the board of the Herron School of Art for over thirty years (1916–1947) and was president of the Art Association of Indianapolis. Her collection was donated to the Herron Art Institute (now the Indianapolis Museum of Art).Lydia Field Emmet (1866–1952) was a painter and illustrator born in New Rochelle, New York. Emmet hailed from a family of painters and illustrators: her mother, Julia Colt Pierson, great-aunt Elizabeth Emmet, cousin, Ellen Emmet Rand, and her sisters, Rosina Emmet Sherwood and Jane Emmet de Glehn, were all accomplished artists. Taught from an early age by her sister Rosina, she went on to attend the Académie Julian in Paris in 1884. She was best known for her work in portraiture and has paintings in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the White House, where her portrait of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover is hung. She was selected, along with Mary Cassatt, Mary MacMonnies-Low, Lucia Fairchild Fuller, and her sister Rosina, to paint murals in the Women’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Emmet exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design, where she was promoted to the position of Academician in 1911.

Perle Fine (1905–1988) was an American abstract painter. Fine belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionists whose artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized across the Atlantic.

Ruth Fischer (1895–1961) was a prominent Communist activist who cofounded the Austrian Communist Party, and later testified before the House Un-American Committee. While at university in 1914 Fisher and her two brothers started a left-wing student group in opposition to World War I. Without completing her degree Fisher left school to found the Communist Party of Austria in November 1918. Unable to attain exclusive leadership of the party, Fischer moved to Germany in 1919; in 1923 she married a member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) to gain German citizenship. By then her political activity in the women’s office of KPD had made her eligible to chair of the party’s largest provincial branch, the Berlin-Brandenburg district organization, which she led with her partner Arkadi Maslow. In public speeches Fischer rejected the New Economic Policy, Stalin’s and Lenin’s political ideologies, and foreign investment to Germany, and she formed the Group of Left Communists. These actions caused her to be dispelled from KPD. She was later deprived of German citizenship by Nazi rule. After illegally navigating Europe, Fischer was eventually able to travel to the United States. In New York she produced some of her best selling books such as Stalin and German Communism (1948) and From Lenin to Mao: Communism in the Bandung Era (1956). The latter reflected her hope that the Soviet Union would move toward a more democratic approach to Communism.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879–1958) was an educational reformer and bestselling author born in Lawrence, Kansas. Her mother, Flavia Camp, was an activist and writer. Fisher completed her B.A. from Ohio State University in 1899, later studying at the Sorbonne and completing a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1904. She held honorary degrees from several universities and was the first woman to receive one from Dartmouth College. Her novels, including Understood Betsy (1917), and nonfiction texts popularized the Montessori method of child-rearing in the United States. She also translated Maria Montessori’s writing for an English-speaking audience. Canfield Fisher worked in Paris during World War I to establish a Braille press for blinded veterans and established a convalescent home for refuge French children. These efforts, along with her literary work, earned her citations from Eleanor Roosevelt and later placed her on Roosevelt’s 1935 list of the ten most influential women in the United States.

Janet Flanner (1892–1978) was an American journalist who served as the U.S. correspondent of the New Yorker magazine from 1925 until she retired in 1975, under her pen name Genêt. Three years before the start of World War II, Flanner wrote a three-part series on the rise to power of Adolph Hitler for the magazine titled Führer. Her columns covered a range of topics including the Stavisky Affair, and she was well known for her obituaries of figures such as Isadora Duncan and Edith Wharton. While she was twice married to men, Flanner had a fifty-year relationship with Solita Solano, the drama editor for the New York Tribune. The pair’s relationship was depicted in Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanack. Despite living in New York during World War II, Flanner returned to Paris in 1944 and continued covering major events for the New Yorker, including the Suez crisis, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and the rise of Charles de Gaulle. She won the 1966 U.S. National Book Award in Arts and Letters for her publication Paris Journal, 1944–1965.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890–1964) was a labor leader, activist, and feminist born in Concord, New Hampshire. Her parents introduced her to socialist thought at a young age, and she was only sixteen when she gave her first speech, “What Socialism Will Do for Women” at the Harlem Socialist Club. Her dissenting politics had her expelled from high school. In 1907 Flynn began working as a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, organizing campaigns among garment workers, silk weavers, miners, and textile workers across the United States. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she was focused on women’s rights such as birth control and the suffrage movement. In 1926 she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she lived and worked with Marie Equi. In 1936 Flynn joined the Communist Party and began writing a feminist column for their journal, the Daily Worker. Upon her election to the national committee, she was ejected from the board of the ACLU in 1940. After an arrest under the Smith Act, Flynn was imprisoned in Alderson, West Virginia, and her experience there served as inspiration for her memoir The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner. Flynn died in the Soviet Union, where she received a funeral with processions in the Red Square attended by over 25,000 people.

Mary Hallock Foote (1847–1938) was a writer and illustrator. Born in Milton, New York, she attended the Cooper Institute School of Design for Women and established herself as a published illustrator and author shortly after graduating. In 1876 Foote started on a journey West where she would eventually build a home, the North Star House (or Foote Mansion). Foote’s publications centered on her relationship to the American West and featured semi-autobiographical accounts of her experiences there. In addition to her written accounts, her books also included woodcuts and drawings, illustrating the rustic, beautiful landscape in which she was immersed.

Rebecca “Reba” Tappan Forbes was a friend of landscape painter Dorothea A. Dreier. Her correspondence with Dreier between 1907 and 1915 can be found in the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Juliana Force (1876–1948) was the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and an integral part of the museum’s foundation. She was born in 1876 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and moved to Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1886 where she attended an evangelical boarding school for girls. After graduation, she taught briefly at a business school and then became a private secretary for Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. After many failed attempts to place Whitney’s collection in other institutions such as the Colony Club and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Force secured a private location to display the work. First establishing the Whitney Studio and later the Whitney Studio Club in Greenwich Village in 1930, Force was appointed as the first director of the museum. The Whitney would change locations to a modest space behind the Museum of Modern Art in 1954 before moving to 75th and Madison in 1966. Force was never formally trained as an art historian, but her emphatic determination and dedication to modern art made her a respected director. After her death, the Whitney held a memorial exhibition in her honor in 1949.

Harriet Mary Ford (1859–1958) was a Canadian-born painter, muralist, jeweler, writer, art critic, and lecturer. As an adult, she lived between Toronto and various parts of England and traveled across Europe, notably to Spain (1907) and Italy (c. 1892 and 1913–1914). She received her education from the Central Ontario School of Arts, St. John’s Wood Art School, London, and the Royal Academy in London, as well as the Académie Colarossi in France. As an advocate of the arts, Ford was a member of a number of organizations, including the Society of Mural Decorators (which she helped establish in 1894), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and the Women’s Art Club. Ford was known for her meticulous attention to detail in her paintings and murals, particularity in the lines and shadows of patios and gardens. Her work was exhibited in London, Paris, Montreal, and Toronto.

Elsa Franke-Thiemann (1910–1981) was a German photographer. Franke grew up in Berlin-Neukölln, enjoying a wealthy bourgeois existence. Her local art teacher, Margarete Kubicka, a painter who maintained close relations with the Berlin Dada movement, recognized her talent for drawing and strongly encouraged her to develop her artistic practice. Before starting her studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1929, Franke attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Berlin. At the Bauhaus she took courses on photography, painting, printing, and advertising. She designed several wallpaper patterns for the new Bauhaus collection to be produced by the company Gebrüder Rasch, but her work differed fundamentally from the Bauhaus wallpapers that later went into production: her collaged photograms produced using plants, thread, and blobs of paint exemplified the type of heavy ornamentation the Bauhaus wanted to get away from.  After receiving her diploma in 1931, she returned to Berlin where she continued to focus on photography. Franke initially worked as a freelance press photographer in Berlin, and later as a photographer of puzzle-pictures for journals. In order to avoid military service during World War II, she became editorial secretary at the publishing house Hoffmann und Campe, but returned to photography after the war. She cofounded the Britzer Circle, a group of artists and intellectuals.

Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting and spanned several generations of abstract painters. Growing up in New York City’s Upper West Side in a Jewish intellectual family, she and her sisters had a privileged childhood that encouraged them to prepare for professional careers. Frankenthaler studied painting and murals at the Dalton School and Bennington College. She began exhibiting her large-scale Abstract Expressionist paintings in the early 1950s. In 1964 she was included in Post-Painterly Abstraction, an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that introduced a newer generation of artists that came to be known as Color Field painters. Her work has been subject of several retrospective exhibitions worldwide, and she was awarded the National Medal of Art in 2001. An active painter for nearly six decades, Frankenthaler’s style is difficult to characterize. but placed a notable emphasis on spontaneity, stating, “a really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once.”  She often painted onto unprimed canvas with oil paints that she heavily diluted with turpentine creating a liquefied, translucent effect that resembled watercolor. This technique, which she named “soak stain” was later adopted by other artist and launched the second generation of Color Field painters. In 1961, recognizing that she needed to challenge herself continually in order to grow as an artist, Frankenthaler began to experiment with printmaking in collaboration with Tatyana Grosman. She continued making art up until the final years of her life.

Olive Fremstad (1871–1951) was a Swedish-American opera singer. Born in Stockholm, her adoptive parents immigrated to Minnesota when she was in her early teens. She received vocal training in New York and Berlin, remaining in Europe for the first years of her career. She appeared in the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1903 until 1914, specializing in Wagnerian roles. She appeared 351 times as a member of the Met’s roster. Acknowledged for her impressive qualities as an interpretive artist and warmly welcomed by American audiences, she was considered the Maria Callas of her day. Later in her career, Fremstad, more of a mezzo-soprano than a genuine soprano, experienced difficulties with the top notes of the dramatic soprano range, and she retired from professional singing in 1920. She briefly attempted teaching, but her patience for anything less that perfection proved to be too slim to continue.  Although Fremstad professed to have no interest in romance, she was married twice and lived for some time with her secretary, Mary Watkins Cushing. Their relationship was fictionalized in Marcia Davenport’s novel Of Lena Geyer (1936). Fremstad was the model for Thea Kronborg, the heroine of Willa Cather’s novel The Song of the Lark (1915), and Cather and Fremstad become close friends. Fremstad had mixed feelings about the novel and its portrayal of her saying once, “My poor Willa, it wasn’t really like that. But after all, what can you know about me? Nothing!”

Giséle Freund (1908–2000) was a German-born photographer and photojournalist. She is known for her portraits, though she earned her living as a photojournalist. At the University of Frankfurt, Freund studied under Theodor Adorno and Karl Mannheim and was actively involved in an antifascist student organization. As Hitler came to power in 1933, Freund left Germany for Paris where she would pursue a Ph.D. at the Sorbonne. In 1942, Freund fled to Buenos Aires at the invitation of Victoria Ocampo—a crucial figure of the Argentinian intellectual elite. Freund continued her photojournalist work for American publications before returning to Paris permanently in 1953. Throughout her life, she was closely integrated in the transnational literary and artistic scene, candidly photographing many notable modernists, including Peggy Guggenheim, James Joyce, Vita Sackville-West, and Virginia Woolf. Her experiments with color photographic technologies and her innovations in the medium are still celebrated.

Adelaide Howard Childs Frick (1859–1931) was the wife of the American industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick. Frick dedicated herself to raising her children and managing the household in Pittsburgh, and she was a client of Elsie de Wolfe, the most famous interior decorator of the time. After her husband’s death, she served as a one of the founding trustees of the Frick Collection, along with her children Helen Clay and Childs. In 1935 her New York residence was expanded and opened to the public as the Frick Collection, renowned for its distinguished Old Master paintings.

Helen Clay Frick (1888–1984) was a philanthropist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her family moved to New York City in 1905 where she attended the Spence School. Frick was known for her strong, individualist sensibility and never chose to commit to the institution of marriage. In 1919, at the age of thirty-one, she inherited $38 million, which made her the richest single woman in the United States. Among her philanthropic contributions, art was a primary focus, and she built the Frick Fine Arts Building at the University of Pittsburgh and the Frick Collection in New York, which houses her personal collection. Other contributions included a vacation home for young female textile workers, two wildlife preserves, a public wilderness park called “Frick Park,” Clayton, a Victorian-era house museum, and West Overton, a pre-American Civil War historic Mennonite village. Rose Fried took over the Pinacotheca Gallery in New York in the early 1940s, renaming it the Rose Fried Gallery. She exhibited abstract art and was integral to the American introduction to abstract painters, including Mondrian and Kandinsky. Fried also presented Marcel Duchamp’s 1952 exhibition Duchamp frères & soeur: Oeuvres d’art.

Betty Friedan (1921–2006) was an American writer, activist, and feminist. A leading figure in the women’s movement in the United States, her book The Feminine Mystique (1963) is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the twentieth century. As a young girl Friedan was active in both Marxist and Jewish circles. After graduating summa cum laude in 1942 with a major in psychology, she became a journalist for leftist and labor union publications. After conducting a survey with college graduates about education and their satisfaction with their current lives, Friedan used her findings to write articles about what she called “the problem that has no name.” She received passionate responses from many housewives, grateful that they were not alone in experiencing dissatisfaction with putting their own aspirations second to their husbands’ careers, and she decided to expand the topic into her well-known book. In 1966 Friedan cofounded, and became the first president of, the National Organization for Women, which lobbied for enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. She organized the Women’s Strike for Equality and led a march of an estimated twenty thousand women in New York City. While the march’s primary objective was the promotion of equal opportunities for women in jobs and education, organizers and demonstrators also demanded abortion rights and the establishment of child-care centers. Friedan joined nearly two hundred others in Feminism for Free Expression in opposing the Pornography Victim’s Compensation Act, stating that “to suppress free speech in the name of protecting women is dangerous and wrong.” She remained an outspoken and abrasive feminist activist and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain (1896–1985) was a German ceramic artist. She was born in France and moved to Germany as a teenager. When the Bauhaus school was founded in 1919, Friedlaender enrolled and studied with sculptor Gerhard Marcks and potter Max Krehan. Because of her Jewish heritage, Friedlaender was expelled from the Bauhaus and immigrated to the United States in 1940. She settled in California with her husband, Frans Wildenhain, and established an artists’ cooperative called Pond Farm. When she and Wildenhain divorced, Friedlaender continued to run Pond Farm, and it became an educational center for experienced and unexperienced artists alike.

Loie Fuller (1862–1928) was an American dancer, choreographer, and light designer. She was born outside of Chicago, and began her career as a child actress before moving into choreographing and performing dances in burlesque and vaudeville shows. Fuller pioneered the emergent aesthetics of modern dance, devising interpretive performances that incorporated broad silk costumes and multi-chromatic lights. Because she felt her work was underappreciated in America, Fuller remained in Paris after a tour there. In France Fuller’s work was thoroughly admired in the Art Nouveau scene and in modern scientific circles. She continued her choreographic work, as well as her experimentation with stage light technologies. Fuller patented her use of chemical compounds for making color gels and her design of luminescent garments. In Europe, she supported aspiring performers and worked with Belle Époque artists. Fuller formed a close friendship with Queen Marie of Romania, and together they founded the Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington. After she retired from performing, Fuller began teaching and continued to choreograph new kinetic spectacles.

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877–1968) was an artist born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is noted as one of the first artists to create work that celebrated Afrocentric themes and is considered a forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance. One of her high school projects was chosen to be exhibited in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, for which she won a scholarship to the University of the Arts, College of Art and Design. After graduation, Fuller moved to Paris to study at the Académie Colarossi and École des Beaux-Arts. While in France, she exhibited at many galleries, including the Salon de l’Art Nouveau. When she returned to Philadelphia in 1902, an arts community still mired in racist ideologies of the time met her with disdain. This did not keep her from becoming the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. government commission to create a diorama of the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition of 1907. Fuller’s final show was at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1961.

Wilhemina Weber Furlong  (1878-1962) was among America’s earliest avant-garde elite modernist painters. She pioneered modern impressionistic and modern expressionistic still life painting, at the turn of the 20th century’s American modernist movement and has been called the first female modernist painter in the early American Modernism scene. As a student, she was associated with the Art Students League as a young woman prior to 1900 and in 1913; she began a serious role in the New York art scene and at the Art Students League as a secretary-treasurer and member of the Board of Control. She taught art for over 56 years in New York, and was active with the Whitney Studio Club during the formative years. She spend significant time in Paris between 1898 and 1906 and was present at the Salon d’Automne or Autumn Salon for three years. She moved between St. Louis, New York, Boston, Paris and Mexico City as well as her Modern Art Colony, Golden Heart Farm in upstate New York.

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