Jennie Lewis Biography

Jennie Lewis

American

1892-1944

Biography

Artist Jennie Lewis was born in San Diego, California in 1892. She and her family moved to San Francisco, California around 1900. Lewis studied with William Merritt Chase in Carmel, California in summer 1914 and later at the California School of Fine Arts (CCFA) in San Francisco with Eric Spencer Mackey and Maynard Dixon and City College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in Oakland, CA with Xavier Martinez. In 1939. She also worked as a route clerk for the Western Union in San Francisco.

She taught art in a convent school and hand colored greeting cards for San Francisco printing firms. She was accepted to work in the WPA/FAP in 1938 and did 32 lithographs with WPA printer Ray Bertrand.

Lewis exhibited at the Golden Gate Internaional Exposition in 1939, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1940, and at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1939 and 1944. She worked with the Northern California WPA/FAP between1938 and 1942 in San Francisco. She showed her work at the Paul Elder Gallery in San Francisco. In 1940, through the efforts of FAP director Holger Cahill she was given a one-person show of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Jennie Lewis died on March 13, 1944 after getting lost in a snowstorm while hiking in the Sierra Nevada in Meadow Lakes, near Fresno, CA. In June of 1944 the San Francisco Museum of Art mounted a solo exhibition of her work.

Sources include "WPA Federal Art Project - Printmaking in California" by Elizabeth Seaton for Book Club of California, 2005.