Edith Branson, American (1891-1976).
Edith Branson was an American modernist painter who created her own interpretation of the multitude of
avant-garde movements that blossomed in Europe and New York City in the early 20th century.
She was a significant contributor to the New York art scene both through her numerous exhibitions and
in the roles she served as a director of the Society of Independent Artists (1934-1940) and as one of
the officers of Emily Francis' Contemporary Arts Gallery. Branson exhibited nearly every year from
1921-1941 with the Society of Independent Artists, as well as with the Municipal Art Galleries (1938).
She was also given a solo show at the Contemporary Arts Gallery (1935), joining such other promising
new artists as Mark Rothko (1933) and Alice Neel (1938) both of whom would also receive their first
one-person show at the Contemporary Arts Gallery.
Edith Branson was professionally recognized by many of the art critics of her day. She was one of the
few singled out from "the rank and file by virtue of definite merit" and in several other exhibitions
as noteworthy of mention. Fellow contemporary artists, Jonas Lie and Richard Miller, were part of the
panel that juried her work into the Corcoran Gallery 14th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 1935.
In 1937 and 1938, Edith Branson was invited to exhibit with the New York Society of Women Artists, a
group that included Theresa Bernstein, Blanche Lazzell and Agnes Weinrich.
Edith Branson in her studio, NYC. Courtesy of the Edith Branson Estate.
Edith Branson received professional instruction from Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League
and from Charles Martin at Columbia's Teachers College. Charles Martin was a protege of and a proponent
of the teachings of Arthur Wesley Dow. In addition to Edith Branson, Martin's teachings had an effect
on many artists including Georgia O'Keeffe who also attended his classes (1914-1915).
Branson's early paintings were influenced by Cubism and Synchromism but expanded to include
Surrealism in the 1930's. In the Foreword to Edith Branson's solo show catalogue, it was noted
that she worked "in purely abstract forms in which she feels she can best convey her joy in
color. She believes that all the depth of emotion that can be experienced through sound, can
also be experienced through color."
Most of Branson's work is reflective of her personal life as a young woman living in the
1920's and 1930's. Though not autobiographical, her surrealistic works introduce a woman's
introspection into the many social changes of the day.
A more in depth article on Edith Branson
Edith Branson, Rediscovering An American Modernist
was first published in Antiques and The Arts Weekly, July 9, 2010.
Additional press featuring Edith Branson
5 Women Artists You Should Know
appeared in The Daily Art Fixx by Wendy Campbell.
"Figure with Ribbons, #20"
Signed Certificate of Provenance.
Oil on board. 30" x 40 1/4"
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