Beatrice Riese (1917 - 2004)
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Paracas by Beatrice Riese
Paracas. 1996


Born 1917 in The Hague, Netherlands. An abstract painter whose important collection of African art is now owned by the Brooklyn Museum. In the 1930s she studied art in Paris; escaping with her parents in 1940 shortly before the Germans invaded France. From Africa they sailed to the United States, settling in Richmond, Virginia. There, Riese married a Spanish anarchist she had met on the trans-Atlantic voyage. She later took art classes with Clyfford Still at Virginia Commonwealth University.

After a divorce in 1949, she moved to New York City, and supported herself and her young son by working as a textile designer. The abstract painting and drawing style she eventually developed, with its gridded geometric forms filled with finely worked calligraphic lines, suggested the patterns of woven fabric and stitchwork, as well as densely written musical notation and micrography. In New York she studied with Will Barnet, and joined American Abstract Artists, serving as president of the organisation for more than a decade. She was a member of A.I.R. gallery in Manhattan, the first nonprofit artist-run New York gallery for women, now in Chelsea.

Beatrice Riese worked in oil on canvas as well as pencil, ink and gouache on paper. In a long career, she had more than two dozen solo exhibitions in museums and galleries including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1956; A.I.R. Gallery, NY, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002; Krannert Art Museum, Urban, IL, 1997; Pleiades Gallery, NY, 1985, 1987, 1995 and many others. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of forty museums, including Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Brooklyn Museum; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington; the British Museum, London and other institutions. Riese died in New York in 2004.