Happy Deathiversary Gertrude Abercrombie, Cool Surrealist Artist Mom
Hey! Did you know about Gertrude Abercrombie? Well, it’s the 42nd anniversary of her death today (April 3, 1977*) and I think she deserves a little mention!
Abercrombie was hanging out in Chicago in the 30’s and 40’s. She was a painter but also a pianist and friends with cool jazz people like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Music was a big influence on her work. In 1934, the Chicago Society of Artists hosted a solo show of her paintings, which were instant hits. Abercrombie quickly became known for her dreamy still-lives, landscapes, and self-portraits, which came from her “inner consciousness.”
There are lots of recurring themes and motifs in her paintings. Watch for owls, horses,
Doors, Empty vases,
Hands doing strange things,
Tall, pale, and skinny “Gertrudes” doing strange things,
Here’s a “Gertrude” carrying a baby through lonely terrain... it’s “Dinah Enters the Landscape”, which depicts her fears about motherhood, upon the birth of her daughter in 1942
And here’s the real Gertrude, in front of a painted “Gertrude,” holding a cat, with some vases nearby.
*Wikipedia says July 3, but I don’t believe it.
*The Art Institute says 1978, so I’m starting to have doubts.