Untitled, Rhapsody in Blue

Jean Marshall Meisel

Mixed media on paper

24 x 14 in.



Jean Marshall Meisel

b. 1931

Born in Pittsburgh and raised in a small town outside of Buffalo, NY, Jean Marshall Meisel graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English in 1953 and promptly moved to New York City to begin a career in publishing. It was not until 1958 when she and her young family moved to Georgetown did she begin to pursue painting.

Meisel developed her eye by spending time at The Phillips Collection looking especially at paintings of Nicolas de Stael, Milton Avery, Albert Ryder, and Arthur Dove. She studied with Helene Herzbrun at American University, and prominent 20th century Washington artists Gene Davis, and Anne Truitt.  Early paintings from the 1970s, mostly seascapes, still life, and figurative work developed into abstraction following a formative trip to Itay in 1986.

A full decade prior to her journey to Italy, Meisel had become entranced by Italian masters, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and Fra Angelico for their treatment of color and use of precise geometry. She began to title her abstracts after Italian cities she had never visited. Once she traveled to the sites in Assisi, Florence, and Arezzo to view the artists’ most seminal works, Meisel truly understood the luminosity and her appreciation deepened. In the decades that followed, Meisel began to incorporate the natural world into her subjects — rocks, shells, flowers and employ the color black.

In the artist’s own words: “Every day of our lives we are astounded by the glorious and mysterious objects and events in the natural world. In my paintings I isolate shapes and colors and simplify what I see—rocks, leaves, skies, shells—in the hope that the viewer, like the painter, can apprehend these miracles with new eyes.”

Works are held in numerous prominent private and corporate collections.

Selected Collections:
  • The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Selected Exhibitions:
  • "Jean Meisel: 50-65 Horizon Line" (2014) The Phillips Collection
  • "JEAN MEISEL: A PAINTING RETROSPECTIVE 1958-2003" (2003) Washington Arts Museum, Washington, DC
  • "Morning Glories" (2000) National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
  • Solo Show (1994, 1998) Addison/Ripley Gallery, Washington, DC
  • "Imaginary Cities" (1985) Condeso-Lawler Gallery, New York City
  • Solo Show (1979, 1981,1984) Osuna Gallery, Washington, DC

Additional information


Gift of the artist


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