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Katherine S. Dreier (American, 1877–1952)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

(b New York, 10 Sept 1877; d Milford, CT, 29 March 1952). American patron, painter and writer. She studied art at the Brooklyn Students League (1895–7), the Pratt Institute (1900–01) and privately with Walter Shirlaw for five years. These studies were supplemented by extensive study and travel in Germany, France and England between 1902 and 1912. Dreier was also active in several Progressive Era reforms, including women’s suffrage, and in 1920 she wrote a book on social reform in Argentina. In 1914 she launched her first effort to stimulate free artistic expression with the founding of the Cooperative Mural Workshops in New York, an art school and workshop modelled on the traditions of John Ruskin and William Morris. Two years later, while active in the Society of Independent Artists, Dreier met Marcel Duchamp and in 1920, with Duchamp’s assistance, founded and became president of the Société anonyme, one of the most important promoters of international modernism in the USA during the first post-war decade. Dreier guided the organization throughout its existence and was instrumental in arranging for its impressive collection of art to be donated to Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1941. Dreier’s own art became more abstract from the 1920s; such works as Explosion (1940–47; New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G.) bear a distinct debt to the mystical abstractions of Vasily Kandinsky, whom Dreier had made an honorary vice-president of the Société Anonyme in 1923.

Ruth L. Bohan
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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