Biography

In 1949, Mademoiselle Magazine named Honoré Sharrer (1920–2009) “Woman Artist of the Year.” In 1951, she had a solo exhibition at New York’s prestigious Knoedler Gallery, where her five-panel work, Tribute to the American Working People (1946–51), attracted favorable critical praise. Indeed, the first dozen years of Sharrer’s career promised a successful, high profile future. And indeed, Sharrer worked as an artist for the rest of her life, producing a body of accomplished and impressive paintings. But the acclaim faded, done in by a combination of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s wave of repression, by Sharrer’s adherence to figural art in the face of the dominance of abstract expressionism in the 1950s and ‘60s, and by the fact that the artist was a woman. Her “rediscovery,” after her death, and recent touring museum exhibition, A Dangerous Woman: Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer (Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA), are similarly the result of social forces that are now encouraging the reexamination of an under-recognized body of work and of major talents unfairly ignored. Her work can be found in many notable public collections across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, and the University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, VA.

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