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IDA KOHLMEYER (1912-1997) - Artists - Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara's Finest Art Gallery

Squared D-80, 1980

39 x 38 inches | mixed media on canvas

Ida Rittenberg was born to Joseph and Rebecca Rittenberg in 1912. Her parents were Polish immigrants who established a pawnshop business in New Orleans, where Ida was born and raised. It was here that Ida studied English Literature at Tulane University and received her B.A. in 1933. Her interest in literature transformed into a fascination for the Latin American arts after she met and married her husband Hugh Kohlmeyer in 1934. Her growing desire to paint led Ida to attend the John McCrady Art School in 1947 and later take classes at Tulane's Newcomb College as a special student under the direction of Pat Trevigno. She graduated from Newcomb College and received her M.F.A in 1956. She went on to attend summer classes in Massachusetts where she was instructed by the great Hans Hoffman and was highly influenced by Abstract Expressionism. In 1959 she held her first solo exhibition at the Ruth White Gallery in New York. In 1966 Kohlmeyer was commissioned by the Peace Corps to make a painting as a gift for a retired Sergeant Shriver. She was also appointed the associate professor of art at the University of New Orleans in 1973, and in 1982 she was acclaimed as an honorary life member of National Women's Caucus for Art. As a painter and sculptor Kohlmeyer was well known and represented on both the west and east coasts. She died on January 29, 1997 at the age of eighty-five.

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Pursuing her interest for art in her thirties, Ida Kohlmeyer went on to create brilliant works strongly influenced by the Abstract Expressionist style. Her oeuvre includes printmaking, drawings, paintings, and sculpture. Kohlmeyer struggled to break from the artistic influences of the first generation Abstract Expressionists such as Hoffman, Rothko, and Miro who she so strongly admired. Her personal style did not develop until the 1970s. This style is characterized by her use of grids to develop geometric abstractions produced through automated gestures. Her geometric “pictographs” were seen as series of signs that could only be read visually, whether or not this was her intention. During this period she was most well-known for her Clusters series. It wasn't until the 1980s that Kohlmeyer's style shifted to Synthesis painting, a less rigid, geometric style with a greater emphasis on color. The success of her compositions was heavily reliant on her drawn line and mark-making. Kohlmeyer did not begin sculpture until late in her life. Her sculptures were often made of Plexiglas, wood, and cloth. These works appear to be related to her paintings and are defined by their more “fluid” line, bright colors, and almost biomorphic shapes. Kohlmeyer relied on the elements of line and color to produce a large collection of brilliant works with an obvious influence of both Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism and a slightly personal touch.




1963 Ford Foundation Purchase Prize, Twenty - Eighth Biennial of Contemporary America Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1963 Purchase prize, Inter - American Annual Exhibition of Painting, Centro Artistico Barranquilla, Barranquilla, Colombia
1980 Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts, National Women's Caucus for Art
1982 Made honorary life member of National Women's Caucus for Art




1. Plante, Michael. Ida Kohlmeyer: Systems of Color. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2004. In association with Newcomb Art Gallery.


Solo Exhibitions:

1997 Ida Kohlmeyer: A Memorial Tribute, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama

1997 Ida Kohlmeyer: In Memory of a Creative Spirit, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, Louisiana

1997 Ida Kohlmeyer: Recent Works, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, Mississippi

1997 Kohlmeyer at Longue Vue, Longue Vue House and Gardens, New Orleans

1996 Ida Kohlmeyer: Recent Works, Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia and Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri

1996 Ida Kohlmeyer: A Survey, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, Texas

1985,1994,1996 Columbus College, Columbus, Georgia

1996 Ida Kohlmeyer: New Dimensions1976-1986, Tuscan Museum of Art, Tuscan, Arizona

1996 Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina

1994 Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina

1994 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1989 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1987 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1985 Jerald Merlberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina

1985 Ida Kohlmeyer: Thirty Years, Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina. Toured Nationally through

1984 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1981 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1979 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans

1977 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1976 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans

1975 Ida Kohlmeyer: Painting and Sculpture, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama

1974 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans

1974 New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans

1974 Municipal Art Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi

1974 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1973 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1972 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans

1971 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans

1971 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

1971 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1969 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1969 Glade Gallery, New Orleans

1968 Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

1968 Wofford Gallery, Spartanburg, SC

1968 Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

1968 Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

1968 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1967 Heath Gallery, Atlanta

1967 Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC

1967 Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

1967 Glade Gallery, New Orleans

1967 Isaac Delgado Museum of Art

1966 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1966 Isaac Delgado Museum of Art

1965 Municipal Art Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi

1965 Glade Gallery, New Orleans

1965 Ruth White Gallery

1964 Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

1964 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1963 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1962 Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA

1961 Ruth White Gallery

1959 Ruth White Gallery

1957 Isaac Delgado Museum of Art (became New Orleans Museum of Art in 1971)

Group Exhibitions:

1991 Four Centuries of Women's Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.,1990. Toured in Japan through 1991

1986 Newcomb Centennial, 1886-1986: An Exhibition of Art by the Art Faculty at the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art

1986 National Women Artists Invitational, Rudolph R. Lee Gallery, Clemson University, Clemson, SC

1983 Painting in the South: 1564-1980, Virgina Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Toured nationally through 1983

1982 Inaugural Exhibition, Sherry French Gallery, New York

1980 Patterns and…, First Women's Bank, NY

1980 Louisiana Major Works,1980, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans

1979 Art Patron Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

1978 Louisiana Enviornments, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans

1978 Aesthetics of Graffiti, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

1978 Five Plus Ten, Spoleto Art Festival, Hasley Gallery, College of Charleston, South Carolina

1977 Five from Louisiana, New Orleans Museum of Art

1976 Art Today, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN

1976 American Artists '76: A Celebration, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas

1972 North, East, West, South, Middle: Exhibition of Contemporary American Drawings, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia

1972 Color, Light, and Image, Women's Interart Center, New York

1972 Artists' Biennial Winnners, New Orleans Museum of Art

1972 Davidson National Print and Drawing Competition, Davidson College Art Gallery, Davidson, North Carolina

1972 Tecera Bienal de Arte Coltejer, Medellin, Colombia

1967 4-Man Show, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

1964 Art Across America, Knoedler Galleries, New York

1964 Anthology of Modern American Painting, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

1963,1965,1967 Biennial of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1962,1964 Eighteenth Southeastern Annual Exhibition, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

1962,1964 Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Society of Four Arts, Palm Beach, FL

1962,1964 Sixty-ninth Western Annual, Denver Art Museum

1962,1964 Inter-American Annual Exhibition of American Painting, Centro Artistico Barranquilla, Barranquilla, Colombia

1962,1964 Painting of the Year Exhibition, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

1961,1962,1965 Painting and Sculpture, John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida

1962 Americans 1962, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia

1961,1962,1965 National Midyear Show, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

1961 First National Exhibition, Knoxville Art Center, Knoxville, Tennessee

Annual Exhibition of Southwest American Art, Oklahoma City Museum of Art

1958,1962,1965 Painters in the New South, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama

1958,1962,1965 Annual Exhibition of American Painting, Chautauqua Art Association, Chautauqua, New York

1958 Now- in New Orleans: 14 Contemporary Artists from New Orleans, Riverside Museum, New York

1955 Fifty-fourth Annual Spring Exhibition, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans

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