Alice Baber (1928–1982)
Alice Baber was an abstract painter, lithographer and feminist. She often utilized circles and ovals, pairing these shapes with vibrant color palettes as a recurring theme in her work.
Alice Baber was born and partially raised in Illinois, though her family would take her to Florida most winters per a doctor’s suggestion. She struggled with her health throughout her childhood. She knew early on that she wanted to be an artist, deciding by age five that she would be either a painter or a poet. By age eight, she was formally studying drawing. By age twelve, she was enrolled in a college level art course.
Alice Baber studied at Lindenwood College for two years, transferring to Indiana University to complete her education. It was at Indiana University in Bloomington where she earned her MA in 1951.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Alice Baber lived and traveled across Europe. She continued to paint, and earned a living as the art editor for the widely circulated McCall’s magazine. She studied briefly at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau, France, settling in Paris for several years starting in 1958.
Alice Baber married fellow abstract painter Paul Jenkins in 1964. Alice Baber and Paul Jenkins traveled to Japan together during their first year of marriage, where they exhibited their work at the Osaka Pinacotheca Museum. The pair continued to enjoy extensive travel throughout their marriage. They divorced in 1970.
Though Alice Baber began her painting career working with oils to create still life images, she grew to become known for her abstract paintings. She dedicated several exhibitions in her later life toward the elements of light and color alone, and was enthralled with capturing the movement of light within her creations.
As a feminist painter, Alice Baber made notable contributions toward uplifting other women artists. Alice Baber spearheaded the organization of multiple exhibits intended to create platforms for women’s artwork. Notably, she produced "Color Forum" in 1972 at the University of Texas, in Austin, and "Color, Light, and Image," in 1975 in New York City at the Women's Interart Center.
She traveled extensively after her divorce, exhibiting and lecturing across the globe. She was artist-in residence at the University of New Mexico’s Tamarind Institute in 1979.
Alice Baber continued to paint in the years leading up to her death, though she struggled with debilitating pain. She died of cancer in 1982.
Greater Lafayette Museum of Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Modern Art
Corcoran Gallery of Art
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Georgia Museum of Art
Biography of Alice Baber on Wikipedia
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