Janet Lippincott was born in 1918 to a family of privilege in New York
City. Her Aunt Gertrude Lippincott, a modern dancer, took her to
museums, and when Lippincott saw her first Picasso she was turned on to
modern art. Her family lived in Paris during her childhood which
was another influence on her art.
When Lippincott was age 15,
her mother, on the suggestion of a friend, enrolled her at the Art
Students League in a life drawing class. Thinking it was a course
in nature drawing, Lippincott was taken back when a male nude entered
the class. She left the room and sat in the park but did return
to the class when a female nude was the subject.
graduated from the Todhunter School, a private school in New York where
Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt was principal. After high school,
Lippincott returned to the Art Students League full time.
World War II, the artist enlisted in the Women's Army Corps and was
attached to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff. Lippincott tells a
story of Gen. George Patton storming into Eisenhower's office in London
demanding to see him. She told Patton flatly that Eisenhower was busy
and that he would have to take a seat and wait and that he should keep
his mouth shut, too.
In 1949 Lippincott drove from New York to
Taos, New Mexico to attend the Emil Bisttram School of Art on the G.I.
Bill. Bisttram did not appreciate Lippincott's talent and told
her that she was wasting her time. She responded that the G.I.
Bill was paying him and that she would remain. In 1972 when
Lippincott was exhibiting at the Jamison Gallery in Santa Fe, Bisttram
gave her a glowing review.
Janet Lippincott attended the Colorado Springs Arts Center and the San Francisco Art Institute on fellowships.
1957 the artist settled in Santa Fe. She bought property on
Canyon Road and built an adobe house and studio. It took time for
Lippincott's art to be accepted by critics in Santa Fe.
Lippincott herself explains that, "After The war, I came out here, and
NO ONE was doing any modern painting. Here I came with my
screwball ideas and shook everybody up." Eventually Lippincott won over
the critics in Santa Fe. She has had numerous show around the country
Lippincott works with a wide range of
media. She was one of the first artists to create lithographs at
the Tamarind Institute.
In 2002, Lippincott was still painting
and winning awards. She recently won the New Mexico Governor's
Award as Artist of the Year.
Art-Talk, November 2002
Janet Lippincott passed away in May of 2007.
In a 1980 article in Southwest Art, Janet Lippincott addressed who she was as an artist: "Abstract painting is an intellectual process. To be a modern painter and to make a truthful statement is the sum total of all I am and what I am continually striving to create. I am a painter and my paintings are all I can contribute to this world." Working away from the major art centers, Lippincott had a singular devotion to her art - a quest to find a pure expression based in color and form. New Mexico afforded her a place to work independently without the distractions of the New York art scene.
Born in New York into a privileged family, she went to museums with her Aunt Gertrude, a modern dancer. When she saw her first Picasso, Lippincott was hooked, and residing in Paris for a period as a child brought her in contact with the most contemporary movements. At age fifteen, she took a life-drawing class at the Art Students League, where she would later enroll full time.
During World War II, she enlisted in the Women's Army Corps and was attached to General Eisenhower's staff. Later she liked to tell the story of how Patton stormed in demanding to see Ike and how she told him to take a seat and keep his mouth shut. In 1949, she drove to Taos for instruction in Emil Bisttram's School of Art on the G.I. Bill. In response to the transcendental painter's dismissal of her talent, Lippincott told him that the G.I. Bill was paying him and that she would stay. If anything, his criticism only made her determined to prove him wrong, and she was vindicated when her one-time teacher wrote a glowing review of her exhibition at the Jamison Gallery in 1972.
Lippincott briefly studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the San Francisco Art Institute on fellowships. In 1957, she moved to Santa Fe, setting up an adobe house/studio that she built on Canyon Road. Many of the artists there were working in response to the Southwestern landscape, light, and culture, with no attention paid to Abstract Expressionism. After having started painting landscapes and portraits, Lippincott had experienced her conversion. "After the war, I came out here, and NO ONE was doing any modern painting. Here I came with my screwball ideas and shook everybody up."
Lippincott found a deep well in working in various media. She continued to keep drawing as an underlying discipline, and she was a member of a drawing group in Santa Fe for about 25 years until about 1987. Lippincott was one of the first artists to create lithographs at the Tamarind Institute. In the 1970s, she dove into sculpture, shortly after the Shidoni Foundry opened in Tesuque.
She was very much a loner and was married once for 10 days. "That was 10 days too long," art dealer Karen Ruhlen recalls the artist saying. While she enjoyed the company of a man, she was always self-reliant and "a little on the ornery side," Ruhlen adds. "Janet was an artist to the core. Making art was like breathing - it was her way of talking and expressing emotions."
Awards: 1956 Annual Circle Exhibition, Roswell Museum, Roswell, New Mexico; 1957 Purchase Award, 10th Graphic Exhibition, NM Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM; 1958 12th Graphic Exhibition, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Exhibited: 1957 Los Artesanos, Las Vegas, New Mexico; 1957 Mexican-American Cultural Institute, Mexico City; 1958 Abstractions in Colored India Ink, La Galleria Escondida, Taos, NM; 1959 Mid American Exhibition, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
Works Held: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico; State Capitol Art Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Harwood Foundation, Taos, New Mexico.