Tewi, Thea

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TEWI, THEA (1915– ), U.S. sculptor. Born in Berlin, Tewi received a degree from the Staatliche Kunstakademie in 1935. She and her husband Charles Kalman Schlachet fled from the Nazis to the U.S. in 1938. Between 1953 and 55, Tewi studied at the Sculpture Center, the Art Students League and, under the tutelage of Seymour Lipton, at the New School for Social Research. She began a custom-made lingerie business and by 1945 was voted the best lingerie designer in the U.S. In 1950 she returned to sculpture, and worked in various media, with an emphasis on marble. She frequently used Jewish subjects and in 1966 won the National Arts Club award for religious sculpture for a work which referred to the forms and shapes of the Hebrew alphabet. The artist's works are quietly emotive. For example, Three Figures (1965) is a white marble sculpture depicting three robed and hooded figures of indeterminate gender whose bodies remain fused by the stone. Simple and highly evocative, this work has an elegance and solemnity heightened by the tall black plinth which elevates the work to almost eye-level. Another marble work of 1965, The Gordian, suggests the eponymous knot with its depiction of form composed of convolutions and interlacings. In 1969, Tewi was awarded the first prize and medal of honor in the National Association of Women Artists Annual Exhibition. In 1975 and 1979, she won first prizes at two different exhibitions at the National Arts Club. Her Cactus Couple (1990), a representation of two cactus plants hewn out of green serpentine marble, is located on the roof of the Arsenal in Central Park, New York. She served as chair of the Sculpture Jury of the National Association of Women Artists (1973), and as president of the Sculptors League (1971–1991). Tewi's work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, Paris, the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club, and New York University. Examples of her work are in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Kew Gardens, New York, the National Museum of American Art, and the Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame University, among other places.


V. Watson-Jones, Contemporary American Women Sculptors (1986).

[Nancy Buchwald (2nd ed.)]

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Tewi, Thea

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