Rothschild, Judith (1921–1993)

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Rothschild, Judith (1921–1993)

American painter and philanthropist. Born in 1921 in New York City; died on March 6, 1993, in New York City; daughter of Herbert Rothschild (owner of a furniture manufacturing company); Wellesley College, B.A.; studied with Reginald Marsh of the Art Students League in New York City; attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; studied with Hans Hofmann and Karl Knaths; studied with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in New York City; married for 23 years to Anton Myrer (a novelist, divorced).

Born in New York City in 1921, Judith Rothschild began her 55-year painting career as a teenager. She had the opportunity to study with numerous distinguished artists, including Reginald Marsh, Hans Hofmann, Karl Knaths and Stanley William Hayter, and graduated from Wellesley College. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Rothschild moved from her initial abstract, geometric style to landscape and figurative painting. In her later paintings, she synthesized abstract elements with representational forms, often drawing from and alluding to mythology and literature. Her style changed again in the early 1970s, when her visual vocabulary expanded to include a broad emotional and thematic range.

Rothschild's paintings were shown internationally and are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as many other museums and private collections. In the course of her lifetime, she contributed to the art world as founder and president of the American Abstract Artists Association, in addition to serving on the boards of the American Federation of Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the New York Studio School, and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She was also artist-in-residence at Syracuse University, and a guest artist at the Pratt Institute and the Rhode Island School of Design during the 1970s.

When she died of a stroke in 1993, at age 71, Rothschild left an estate that included her own paintings as well as art by Matisse, Mondrian, Brancusi, Picasso, and Gris. Her will stipulated that this multimillion dollar estate be sold and the proceeds given to galleries and museums for the purchase of works by contemporary American artists.


The Day [New London, CT]. March 3, 1993.

Heller, Jules, and Nancy G. Heller, eds. North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century. NY: Garland, 1995.

The New York Times Biographical Service. March 1993, p. 345.

The Paintings of Judith Rothschild: An Artist's Search. Metropolitan Museum of Art brochure, 1998.

Kelly Winters , freelance writer, Bayville, New York

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Rothschild, Judith (1921–1993)

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