|Virginia Snedeker "Self-Portrait" 1933 Private Collection|
Virginia Snedeker (1909-2000) was born in New York City, and studied at the National Academy of Design and later at The Art Student's League of New York. She was strongly influenced by artist Kenneth Hayes Miller, who taught at the League, and was an early proponent of the urban genre scene. Snedeker, under Hayes' tutelage, became part of what is now called the American Scene movement, which existed from some time in the 1920's through the 1940's (and even possibly into early 1950's.) The American Scene movement was also known as Regionalism, and rejected the currently fashionable Modernist Art movement, instead espousing a representational style focused on everyday life. Snedecker focused on the region she knew best, which was New York City.
|Virginia Snedeker "Self-Portrait with Brushes" 1938 Private Collection|
In addition to her painting, Snedeker worked as illustrator. Her first cover for the The New Yorker magazine, 1939, shows a bohemian-looking man and woman carrying a large painting through the streets of New York. It's fascinating to me that it appears to have been assumed that the artist of the couple was the man, whereas Snedecker, the painter, may have been quietly referring to herself. In any case, the cover was a hit, and its success gained Snedecker a coveted contract with the New Yorker. She did covers as well as numerous black and white spot illustrations for that magazine.
|Virginia Snedeker "Untitled (Bolsheviks)" The New Yorker June 10, 1939 Condé Nast Collection|
After World War ll the world was a different place, all over. Snedecker married, and moved to Ridgefield, New Jersey where she eventually quit painting and illustrating, and instead focused on domestic life and raising a family. She is not known to have ever picked up a brush again after about 1949, despite living to the ripe old age of 91. Although Snedecker's work was shelved for decades, she has recently begun to be noticed again, and her oeuvre, both fine art and illustration art, was the focus of a solo exhibition at the Morven Museum in Princeton, New Jersey in 2006 and was also exhibited at the Morris Museum in 2008. In 2009 her work was included in a group show at the Zimmerli Art Museum entitled A Parallel Presence: National Association of Women Artists, 1889- 2009.
~Many thanks to Eliza Drake Auth for spotting the Self-Portrait with Brushes image~