Beatrice Sophia Levy Biography

Beatrice Sophia Levy




Printmaker, painter, and educator Beatrice Sophia Levy was born on April 3, 1892 in Chicago. After graduation from high school in 1910, she enrolled in the Art Institue of Chicago to study illustration, which quickly expanded to include painting and printmaking. While there she became an outspoken supporter of Modernism and advocated for the controversial 1913 Armory Show that showcased European Modernism. Graduating with honors in 1913, she was encouraged to study at the Provincetown art colony, where she studied under Charles W. Hawthorne in 1914; following this she studied at the Art Students League in New York under Voitech Preissig (1915). Her first participation in a mjor exhibition took place with the Chicago Society of Etchers in 1914, a group she would regularly show with throughout the years. In 1916, she was given her first solo exhibition at the Goupil & Cie Gallery in New York City.

In the early 1920s Levy helped form the Cor Ardens artists' group with Carl Hoeckner, Stanislaus Szukalski, Ramon Shiva, and Gerrit Sinclair, traveling throughout the US, Europe, and Mexico. As the Depression took hold of the US, she worked for the Works Progess Association's (WPA) Federal Art Project as a supervisor in the Easel Painting division and Art Project Gallery for Illinois in 1936. During World War II, she worked as a meteorological draftsperson. 

In 1950 she relocated to La Jolla, California, where she would continue working and exhibiting into the late 1960s. She also took up a teaching position at the La Jolla Museum School of Arts and Crafts and was on the board of the San Diego Museum of Art. In all, her exhibition career spanned nearly five decades and she exhibited nearly every year from 1914 through the 1930s. Though she slowed down some in the 1940s, her final solo exhibition took place in 1960 at the Long Beach Museum in California, and her work continued to be exhibited after death. Her work is held in the collections of the Portland Art Museum, OR; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France; Library of Congree, Washington, DC; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; and more. 

Selected Exhibitions:
1914-'45 (various years): Exhibition of Etchings, Chicago Society of Etchers, Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), IL
1915: Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, CA
1916: Goupil & Cie Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1917, -'46 (various years): AIC
1923, '24, '29, '31: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
1924: Philadelphia Print Club, PA (solo); Art Club of Washington, DC (solo); Godspeed's Gallery, Boston, MA (solo); Grand Rapids Art Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI (solo); Library of Congress, Washington, DC (solo)
1929: Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittburg, PA (two shows: one solo, one group)
1931: "Paintings by Beatrice Levy and Constantine Pougialis", and another solo show, AIC
1933, '34: Century of Progress, AIC
1939: World's Fair, New York, NY
1945, '46: National Academy of Design, New York, NY and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC (solo)
1955: La Jolla Art Center, San Diego, CA (solo)
1957: Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM (solo)
1993-'94: "New Woman in Chicago, 1910-'45: Paintings from Illinois Collections", Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL (posthumous)

Honorable Mention in Printmaking, Panama-Pacific Exposition, 1915; Robert Rice Jenkins Prize for Painting, AIC (1923); gold medal, Chicago Society of Artists Exhibition (1928); etcher's prize, International Exhibition of Prints, AIC (1930); purchase prize, Illinois State Exhibition (1930); first prize, Coronado Artists Association, CA (1952, '56, '57); print award, La Jolla Art Center, La Jolla, CA (1957)