Sybil Davis Emerson Biography

Sybil Davis Emerson




Sybil Davis Emerson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on April 4, 1892 to William Emerson and Alice Kniffen.  In 1910, at age 18 she attended Ohio State University, where she earned her Bachelors in Art and Science; the Art Students League in New York; and the Académie Falguiere with Andre L’hote. Moving to California she studied with Armin Hansen and Clayton Sumner Price in Monterey. InCalifornia she lived in San Bernardino between 1917 and 1921, before moving to San Francisco around 1922, where she taught at Lowell High School. She moved across the Bay to Berkeley in 1925, where she listed herself as a teacher and an artist “Working on own account”.

In the 1930s she was living and working in New York, where she exhibited at the Midtown Galleries and the Morton Gallery.  By 1942 she settled in State College, Pennsylvania where she was Professor of Art Education at Pennsylvania State University between 1942 and 1956. During this time she also taught summer courses at the University of Southern California in 1952 and at the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California in 1955. In 1967 she was an instructor for the summer creative arts workshop at Rutgers University. She was the author/Illustrator of Jaques at the Window, 1936; Pigeon House Inn, 1939, and Design: A Creative Approach, 1953. Emerson was a member of a number of arts organizations,including: the Eastern Artists Association, the National Art Education Association, the Committee on Art Education, United American Artists, and the American Artists’ Congress.

She exhibited extensively including  the San Francisco Art Association, 1924 (1st prize), 1944, 1947; the East-West Gallery, San Francisco, 1930; the Art Institute of Chicago, 1931, 1935; the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1938-39; National Gallery of Art, 1941; San Francisco Museum of Art, 1944; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1945; Albany Print Club, 1949; Philadelphia Print Club, 1951; and the California College of Arts & Crafts, 1955.

Sybil Davis Emerson retired to McMinnville, Oregon in 1959 where she remained until her death on September 15, 1980.