Self Portrait of Isabel Bishop

Isabel Bishop


Artist Details

Birth Place
Death Place
New York City
Phonetic Spelling
IHZ-ah-behl BIHSH-up
Drawings and prints; Painting
Social Realism
Places of Residence
New York City; Detroit
The Art Students League of New York, New York, 1920–24; New York School of Applied Design for Women, New York, 1918–20; Wicker School of Fine Arts, Detroit, Michigan, 1917–18
Retrospective Exhibitions

Isabel Bishop Retrospective: Paintings, Drawings & Etchings, Midtown Galleries, New York, 1989;

Retrospective of Prints, Associated American Artists, Philadelphia, 1981;

The First Retrospective Exhibition Held in American Museums of Paintings, Drawings, Etchings, and Aquatints by Isabel Bishop, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1975

NMWA Exhibitions

Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997, 1997–98

The Washington Print Club Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition: Graphic Legacy, 1994–95

Isabel Bishop, 1990

Women Artists of the New Deal Era: A Selection of Prints and Drawings, 1988–89

About the Artist

A member of New York's 14th Street School, Isabel Bishop is best known for her graphic art and urban subject matter.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she arrived in New York in 1918 at age of 16, where she studied illustration and painting. After marrying Dr. Harold Wolff in 1934, she lived in Riverdale but maintained her studio on Union Square near 14th Street until 1984.

Bishop’s work shifted focus—in her early artwork she had depicted realistically rendered nudes, but in New York she began to draw, etch, and paint the distinctly urban subject matter that surrounded her. After moving to Union Square in 1926, she became enamored of the area and its inhabitants. Shop girls, straphangers, laborers, and derelicts became her models as they traversed. By capturing their motions and gestures in prints, Bishop produced the walking figures for which she is best known.

Bishop taught at the Art Students League as the only female full-time instructor from 1936 to 1937 and also at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, among others. She received awards and prizes including an American Academy of Arts and Letters award (1943), an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts presented by President Jimmy Carter (1979), and several honorary doctorates. She was the first woman to hold an executive position in the National Institute of Arts and Letters when she became vice-president in 1946.

National Museum of Women in the Arts