Beth Van Hoesen Biography

Beth Van Hoesen




Beth Van Hoesen was born in Boise, Idaho on June 27, 1926, to Enderse and Freda Van Hoesen. She was raised in Mesa Orchards, Idaho but moved with her mother to Greenwich, Connecticut where she attended preparatory school. As a result of the Great Depression and the resultant loss of property and job opportunities, her family moved to Long Beach, California. Van Hoesen graduated from David Starr Jordan High School in Long Beach and enrolled in Stanford University in 1944.

Van Hoesen studied at Escuela de Pintura y Escultura de la Escuela Esmeralda in Mexico City and the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in the mid 1940s, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948 from Stanford University. After graduation, she went to France where she studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Fontainebleau in 1948, and at the Académie Julian and Académie de la Grand Chaumière in Paris from 1948 to 1950.

Upon returning to the San Francisco Bay Area, she re-enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts and it was during this time that she studied with Clyfford Still. She met her future husband, artist Mark Adams, at the school and they married in 1953. Several years later they purchased a 1910 fire station in San Francisco and converted it into studio and living spaces.

Beth Van Hoesen worked exclusively in printmaking beginning in 1956 and a solo exhibition of her prints was mounted the following year at Stanford Art Gallery, Sanford University. For many, she was considered the Grand Dame of printmaking in the Bay Area. She was a member of the Bay Printmakers Society and the California Society of Etchers.

She was given the Award of Honor in Graphics from the San Francisco Arts Commission in 1981 and the Distinguished Artists Award in 1993 from the California Society of Printmakers. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art New York, Norton Simon Museum, Racine Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Portland Art Museum (Oregon) is the repository for Beth Van Hoesen's print archive.

Joseph Goldyne praised her: “For Van Hoesen, drawing has been akin to breathing. It is something she has always done, what all her looking as led to, and her body of drawings alone would be more than sufficient to give her prominence in her period and among her peers.”

Beth Van Hoesen died in San Francisco, California on November 16, 2010.