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Barnes, Djuna (12 June 1892–19 June 1982), writer, was born Djuna Chappell Barnes in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Wald Barnes (born Henry Budington, recorded as Buddington), a musician, and Elizabeth Chappell. She was raised mostly in her birthplace, Fordham, and Huntington, Long Island, New York. The Barnes family, which believed in sexual freedom, included four brothers by Djuna’s mother, plus Wald’s mistress Fanny Faulkner and their three children; they were supported largely by Wald’s mother, Zadel Barnes Budington Gustafson, a journalist and suffragist. Djuna’s parents and grandmother Zadel tutored the children, especially in the arts. With the blessing of her father and grandmother (over the objections of her mother), at seventeen Djuna eloped with a soap salesman, Percy Faulkner, brother of Fanny Faulkner, but stayed with him only a few weeks. Djuna attended school sporadically, if at all; later she attended Pratt Institute (1913) and the Art Students League of New York (1915), studying life drawing and illustration....

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Bennett, Gwendolyn (08 July 1902–30 May 1981), writer and artist, was born in Giddings, Texas, the daughter of Joshua Robin Bennett and Mayme F. Abernathy, teachers on a Native American reservation. In 1906 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Bennett’s father studied law and her mother worked as a manicurist and hairdresser. Her parents divorced and her mother won custody, but her father kidnapped the seven-year-old Gwendolyn. The two, with her stepmother, lived in hiding in various towns along the East Coast and in Pennsylvania before finally settling in New York....

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Foote, Mary Anna Hallock (19 November 1847–25 June 1938), illustrator and author, was born on a farm near Milton, New York, the daughter of Nathaniel Hallock and Ann Burling, farmers. When Foote wrote her reminiscences (published posthumously in 1972 as A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West...

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Jamison, Cecilia Viets (1837?–11 April 1909), painter and writer, was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, the daughter of Viets Dakin and Elizabeth Bruce. Her Tory family had left the United States during the American Revolution. They resettled in Nova Scotia, where her paternal relatives had lived, including her great-grandfather, the Reverend Roger Viets, who was vicar general of Canada. When she was a teenager, she and her family moved back to the United States, settling in Boston. There and in New York she attended private schools, where she studied to be an artist....

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Loy, Mina (27 December 1882–25 September 1966), poet and artist, was born Mina Gertrude Lowy in London, England, the daughter of Sigmund Lowy, a tailor, and Julia Bryan. Loy received little formal education but at age seventeen was sent to art school in Munich. In 1901–1902 she returned to England, where she studied with the English painter Augustus John and began to exhibit her painting. It was also during this time that she met her first husband, art student Stephen Haweis (Hugh Oscar William Haweis). In 1903 Loy moved to Paris to study painting, married Haweis, and changed her name to Loy, a change, she remembered, that she “adopted in a spirit of mockery,” in response to her husband’s old and distinguished family name, which was pronounced ”Hoyes“ (Burke, pp. 66, 97). Loy and Haweis had three children; the first daughter died in infancy, the son in his teens....

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O’Neill, Rose Cecil (25 June 1874–06 April 1944), illustrator and writer, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the daughter of William Patrick O’Neill, a bookseller, and Alice Asenath Cecelia Smith, a former schoolteacher. At the time of her birth, the O’Neill family occupied “Emerald Cottage,” a picturesque home with cupids and wreaths of roses ornamenting the ceiling in the octagonal living room. It is possible that these cupids, imprinted on her memory, later inspired her famous “Kewpie” illustrations of plump infants with tiny wings. In 1878 her family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and at the age of thirteen, O’Neill, who attended parochial school, won a prize, awarded by the ...