Dorothy Hart Drew (American, 1910-1994) “Standing Nude Black Woman,” c. 1950, oil on canvas, 71″ x 33″
The American portrait artist Dorothy Hart Drew was born in Ethel, Macon County, Missouri on January 30, 1910. Dorothy and her family moved to St. Louis, and eventually to New York in 1927. Dorothy began to study art at the New York Art Students’ League in 1928, and in 1929 she passed the examination for admittance to the National Academy of Design, the foremost American school of conservative art. Here she won the figure painting prize in 1932, the first woman to do so in fifty years.
She received the Gold Medal of Honor given by the American Artists’ Professional League in 1959 “for courageous and patriotic service to American art.” She appears to have been a member of the Board of Governors of the League around this time, as well as chairman of its membership committee.
Dorothy’s art shows included one at New York’s Findlay Galleries in 1937, which contained numerous portraits of St. Louisans and attracted many Missouri patrons to the opening. Other shows were held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and at Stedman House in Pennsylvania. She also exhibited in group shows at Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City, the National Arts Club, and the Wolfe Art Club.
She painted or sketched many notable Americans including Will Rogers, Norman Thomas, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, actress Lillian Gish, John Dewey, and Herbert Hoover. She died in 1994 in New York.
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