I have recently become enamored with the work and story of Mary Abbott. Mary was born is 1921 to a family with a rich American history. She is a descendant of President John Adams and General Robert E. Lee. She was a debutante, model for Vogue and in my opinion, a game changer. There are not many women who have been reported to have had influence over men’s art styles but Mary Abbott was one of them. As young as the age of 12 she was studying at the Art Students League of New York. She went on to travel in circles with David Hare, Barnet Newman, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and most interestingly, Willem de Kooning. She began a professional and personal relationship with de Kooning in the 1940’s. Asher Edelman has written about a very interesting experience while unearthing some of Mary’s work mistaking it for de Koonings and the ensuing time line that led him to conclude that Mary indeed had profound influence on de Kooning’s art. F-a-s-c-i-n-a-t-i-n-g! Mary, my new unsung hero. Her modest outlook (not taking the credit she deserves for having an original spirit) seem to be a compelling reflection of the era and social stature she was raised in and yet her vibrant art seems to reflect a such a rich interior life. I love it all and I am smitten with the diversity of her work, stroke and palette. You can read a bit more about Mary here and Edelman’s article here.
Titled Bill’s Painting, 1951