The Old Print Shop

Isabel Bishop


Isabel Bishop was an American painter and printmaker, born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3, 1902.  Her first art training was at the John Wicker Art School in Detroit.  She left for New York in 1918 to study at the New York School of Applied Design, after a short period began studying painting at the Art Students League.  At the League she studied with Guy Pene du Bois; Kenneth Hayes Miller; Max Weber and Robert Henri.  In 1926 she established her studio in Union Square which she would maintain until 1984. 

A member of New York's 14th Street School, Isabel Bishop is best known for her graphic art and urban subject matter.  She moved to Union Square in 1926, where she became enamored with the area and its inhabitant; shop girls, straphangers, laborers, and derelicts became her models as they traversed the city. Capturing their motions and gestures in her work, 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.