23.5 X 18.5 INCHES

Lucia Stern


Lucia Stern was born Martha Ida Lucia Karker and was an important figure in Wisconsin progressive art. Although her formal education was in music and literature (1918-1922), she was increasingly drawn to visual art. Her early influences were Matisse and Picasso, the two giants who also influenced each other. In 1930, she married Milwaukee lawyer-politician Erich Stern with whom she took annual trips to Europe, each time expanding their art connections. She was a friend of many important champions of non-objective art, including eminent Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), who painted a portrait of her, with whom she exhibited and whose book on art theory, titled, Vision in Motion, remained a steady influence on her.

Another friend was Baroness Hilla Rebay, director of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in New York City (later called The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), who collected and exhibited Lucia Stern's works at the Museum.

By 1935, Stern was working regularly as an artist. Throughout the more than five decades during which she was active, she utilized drawing, painting, sculpting, and decoupage (cut and stitched or glued fabric). She was also an early experimenter with unusual, re-arrangable, sometimes hanging, 3D compositions using cork, plastic, glass, metal foil, cellophane, lucite and driftwood; and, created stuffed sculptures that could double as toys for children and adults. In the 1960s-1970s she began integrating architecture and projected color-light with music and human voice.

Throughout her career, Stern was an enthusiastic lecturer on modern art; was instrumental in the development of the Haggerty Museum at Marquette University; kept up her global correspondence with the prominent figures of the art world; and, wrote exhibition catalogues for important shows at major museums, including exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1920s-1940s), such as, the first loan exhibition (1929) featuring Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Van Gogh. She also authored the book titled Criteria for Modern Art, published in 1971 and contributed articles to numerous publications on modern art. During her life time, Lucia Stern's works were shown at an impressive list of international, national and regional venues, including major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later The Guggenheim) in New York and the Chicago Art Institute. Stern was recognized as one of several important promulgators of non-objective art in the United States.

(biographical information taken from Lucia Stern A Reevaluation exhibition catalogue, published by The Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in 1989)

Some Group Shows: "Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors" - Milwaukee Art Institute 1943 "55th Annual Exhibition of Watercolors and Drawings" - Art Institute of Chicago 1944 "Wisconsin Salon of Art" - Madison 1944 "International Watercolor Exhibition" - Art Institute of Chicago 1945 "Paintings by Milwaukee Artists" - Cleveland Museum of Art 1945 "Springfield Museum of Fine Arts Group Show" - Massachusetts 1945 "Annual Group Exhibitions, Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum)" - New York City 1944-1952 "Salon des Realites Nouvelles" - Musee d'Art Moderne - Paris, France 1951 "Galerie d'Origine" - Rome, Italy 1953 "Exhibition with Paul Fontaine" - Kunstkabinet - Frankfurt, Germany 1960

Some Solo Exhibitions: "Exhibition of Decoupage" - Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit 1945 "Lucia Stern: Design in Decoupage" - University of Wisconsin-Mikwaukee 1968 "Lucia Stern: A Life in Design" - Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin 1977 "Lucia Stern: A Reevaluation" - The Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Wisconsin 1989 (P.H.)