Ida Kohlmeyer

Alt text: Abstract symbolist painting 
Alt text: Abstract symbolist painting in situ

Ida Kohlmeyer
American, 1912 – 1997
Synthesis #31, 1982
Mixed media on canvas, acrylic, oil stick, colored pencil and graphite
60 H. x 60 W. inches
Signed lower left: Ida Kohlmeyer 1982

Bears label verso: David Findlay Gallery, New York. Titled: “Synthesis #31”.

The artist
David Findlay Gallery, New York
A distinguished private collection, New York, until the present

Artist Description

Ida Kohlmeyer spent most of her life in her hometown of New Orleans, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree at Tulane University in 1947. Occupied with raising a family, she did not turn to painting until later in life, and went back to her alma matter to complete a Master’s degree by 1956. After graduating, she spent a summer studying under Hans Hofmann at the artist colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts, marking a shift in her practice away from figural compositions towards abstracted ones. Soon after she returned to New Orleans, Mark Rothko set up a studio in Kohlmeyer’s family home while he was a visiting artist at Tulane.  Spending time with Rothko inspired Kohlmeyer to continue down the path of abstraction, and in the 1960s she earned representation with Ruth White Gallery in Manhattan.

Kohlmeyer was introduced to Joan Miro in 1956 when she was in Europe, and over time her admiration for him prompted her to conceive of her own code of symbols with intrinsic meaning that she used throughout her work. She viewed her attraction to making art as a type of necessity; that nothing else could sate her need to create and it was as much of a duty as it was a pleasure.

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