Last updated: May 17, 2019
Topic: EducationSchool
Sample donated:

Artist Report I chose was Janet Fish. Janet Fish is a contemporary realist painter and printmaker who was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1938, and raised on the island of Bermuda. Her grandfather, Clark Voorhees, was an American Impressionist painter who inspired Janet. Her father was an art history teacher, and her mother, Florence Whistler Fish, a sculptor and potter. She went to Skowhegan Summer School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and studied sculpture and printmaking at Smith College in Massachusetts, and graduated from Smith in 1960.

She then went on to Yale University School of Art and Architecture in Connecticut, where she received her B. F. A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and M. F. A. (Master of Fine Arts) degrees in 1963. (She was one of the first women artists to receive her MFA from Yale. ) She is best known for her still life paintings, but also sometimes includes figures and landscapes in her work. Her richly colored paintings and prints are virtuoso performances of painting and printmaking.

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The generation of young artists who came of age in the 1950’s were influenced by the then dominant New York School of Abstract Expressionists. Even though many painters of this generation turned to figurative painting, their work still reflects the aesthetic process of the action painters, in such characteristics as “all-over” composition and painterly style. Thus, their figurative imagery is schooled in the formalism of modernism, that is, abstract form and pictorial movement underlies their imagery.

After she graduated from Yale, she hoped to teach art at the college level, but was discouraged by the male faculty, who suggested she apply to teach at a girls’ school. She moved to New York and held an assortment of odd jobs, but when she began showing her work there, it was an immediate success. She became part of the New York art social scene, meeting sculptor Louise Nevelson and others in the art world.