Nell Blaine (1922 – 1996)
Nell Blaine, an American landscape and expressionist painter, known for her plentiful use of vibrant colors, was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1922. She grew up handicapped by poor eyesight, which she would later attribute as the cause for her great love of the visual arts.
She attended the Richmond School of Art, now Virginia Commonwealth University, under Theresa Pollak from 1939 until 1942, when she moved to New York City to pursue Abstract Expressionism under the esteemed instruction of Hans Hofmann. By 1943, she was the youngest member of the American Abstract Artists group. She also joined the cooperative artist group, Jane Street Gallery, of which she was a founding member. In the 1950s, Blaine left New York for Paris, where she admired the work of Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Nicholas Poussin, and Jean Antoine Watteau, whose influence was reflected in many of her own pieces at the time.
Upon her return to New York, Blaine joined the city’s renowned artist circles, meeting with the likes of John Ashbery, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Rudy Burckhardt, Frank O’Hara, and Leland Bell. In 1955, her design was used as the original logo for column heads and layout in The Village Voice.
While in Mykonos, Greece in 1959, Blaine contracted polio, which inhibited her use of her right hand for the rest of her life, leading her to learn to paint with her left.
Photo Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum