Virginia Berresford Biography

Virginia Berresford




Virginia Berresford was born on 11 October 1902 in New Rochelle, New York. Her studies took place at Wellesley College, with a student exchange to Grenoble; Teachers College; Columbia University under Charles Martin; the Art Students League; and with Amédée Ozenfant through the Académie Moderne in Paris, where she lived between the year 1925 and 1926 and 1929 and 1930.

While in Paris, Berresford became acquainted with the works of Renoir, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Derain and Vuillard. She greatly admired artists from O’Keeffe to Rousseau, Picasso and Kandinsky and most importantly Ozenfant, one of the founding artists of Purism under whom she studied extensively. Her work was also influenced by music and literature.

Throughout her life, Berresford also found several opportunities to travel to Venice, Athens and Munich, which greatly impacted her aesthetic sensibility in landscape painting. Exhibitions in which Berresford participated include: the Bernheim Gallery, Paris; Society of Independent Artists, World’s Fair, Museum of Modern Art, Montclair Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Salons of America and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

Her first exhibit in New York was at the Dudensing Gallery. It was there she met Frank Crowninshield, who bought several paintings and published one on the cover of Vanity Fair. They would later become friends and spend a great deal of time together in Paris and New York.

Solo exhibitions of Berresford’s work were held at The New Gallery, Montross Gallery, Walker Gallery, Mortimer Levitt Gallery, Berresford Gallery, Princeton Gallery of Fine Arts, Jacques Seligman Gallery, Marie Sterner Gallery, Bodley Gallery, Dunbarton Gallery, Bonestall Gallery, Farnsworth Art Museum, Wellesley College, Menemsha Gallery, Studio West Art Gallery, College of St. Thomas. Selected works have been acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Detroit Museum, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, and dozens of private collections.

Berresford was a private instructor in Menemsha, Maryland, and 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. Her work has been reviewed by critics and established artists in The Arts, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Vineyard Gazette, The New Yorker, and Boston Globe.

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