Virginia Berresford Biography

Virginia Berresford




Virginia Berresford, painter, printmaker, and gallerist, was born on 11 October 1902 in New Rochelle, New York. In 1921 she attended Wellesley College, with a student exchange to Grenoble, France; and in 1923 she studied at Columbia University Teachers College. While studying at Columbia she took drawing classes with George Bridgeman at the Art Students League in New York. Berresford lived in Paris for four years between 1925 and 1930 where she studied with Amédée Ozenfant at Académie Moderne.

She married Benedict “Bob” Thielen and they traveled the western world. The couple returned to New York in 1933 and she had a solo exhibition at the Montross Gallery that same year. Berresford continued her studies with Ozenfant who was then teaching at the New School in New York. Between 1927 and 1987, Berresford had forty-four solo exhibitions. She was included in the 46 Painters and Sculptors Under 35 Years of Age exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1930; First Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1933; Oil Paintings by Living Artists at the Brooklyn Museum in 1935; American Art Today, New York World’s Fair in 1939; The Fifty-second Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1941; the Second 1957 Show of the Provincetown Art Association; and Between the Wars: Women of the Whitney Studio Club and Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1997.

Berresford was a private instructor in Menemsha, Maryland and, in 1954, opened the first commercial art gallery in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1989, she authored Virginia's Journal: An Autobiography of an Artist which chronicles her life, work and travels.

The work of Virginia Berresford is represented in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Michigan; the Wolfsonian, Florida International University, Miami Beach; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Virginia Berresford died on 20 August 1994 in Martha's Vineyard.