a project by Andrea Geyer. 2012 - ongoing

Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943) was a Swiss painter, sculptor, and dancer. Taeuber-Arp studied at the School of Applied Arts in St. Gallen and later at the School of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg and the Laban School of Dance in Zurich. From 1916 to 1929 she taught weaving and textiles at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts while working on the geometric abstractions that would become some of the earliest Constructivist works. Taeuber-Arp was also working as a dancer and choreographer for the Cabaret Voltaire. She was an integral part of the Zurich Dada movement, acting as a co-signer of the Zurich Dada Manifesto in 1918. In 1927 Taeuber-Arp was commissioned to create a Constructivist interior for the Café de l’Aubette, and in the same year co-authored Design and Textile Arts with Blanche Cauchet. In 1940 Sophie Taeuber-Arp fled Paris to avoid the Nazi occupation and created an art colony with Sonia Delaunay and other friends in Grasse, France. Taeuber-Arp is the only woman to appear on Swiss currency; her face has been featured on the 50-franc note since 1995.

Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) was an American ceramic artist and painter, born to Japanese immigrant parents in Hawaii. She studied at the Honolulu Museum of Art as well as Cranbrook Academy of Art where Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell became her mentor. Takaezu taught for many years at both the Cleveland Institute of Art and Princeton University. She believed that ceramics involved self-revelation and developed her “closed form” style with this in mind. Her ceramic forms are hollow pots, resembling hearts or torsos. Her work is represented in many public collections including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C..

Mary B. Talbert (1866–1923) was an activist and social reformer born in Oberlin, Ohio. She was the only African-American woman in her graduating class at Oberlin College, where she studied education. In 1887, only a year after graduating, Talbert obtained the highest position of any African- American woman in the state of Arkansas as an assistant principal at Union High School. Talbert moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1891, where she became committed to anti-lynching and anti-racism activism along with women’s suffrage. She was a founder of the Niagara Movement, an organization whose main constituents would later form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. One of the first activists to note the double bind of oppression faced by women of color, Talbert was vocal about the importance of raising the consciousness of her more privileged peers in the suffragist movement.

Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) was an American painter, printmaker and poet involved in the Surrealist movement. She was primarily a self-taught painter and created meticulous renderings of dream-like situations. Her painting evolved over six decades, moving to more suggestive and less literal images, eventually becoming fairly abstract. Tanning’s work has been exhibited in retrospectives at major art institutions, including the Pompidou in Paris and the Malmö Konsthall in Sweden. In addition to painting, Tanning contributed set designs and costumes to several ballets by George Balanchine and appeared into avant-garde films by Hans Richter. After spending much of her life between Paris and Sedona, Arizona, Tanning relocated to New York City in 1980, embarking on an energetic period of her career, creating paintings, collages, drawings, and prints. It was during this time that she began to focus more on writing as well, publishing her expanded memoir, Between Lives: An Artist and Her World, in 2001 In 1994, Tanning endowed the Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets, an annual prize of $100,000 awarded to a poet in recognition of outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. She died at the age of 101, just after publishing her second collection of poems, Coming to That.

Gerda Taro (1910–1937), born into a Polish-Jewish family that migrated from Galicia to Germany, was a pioneering photojournalist. Her brief career consisted almost exclusively of dramatic photographs from the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. Her photographs were widely reproduced in the French leftist press and incorporated the dynamic camera angles of New Vision photography as well as a physical and emotional closeness to her subject. Taro worked alongside Robert Capa, who was both her photographic and romantic partner, and the two collaborated closely. While covering the crucial Battle of Brunette in July 1937, Taro was hit by a tank and killed.

Lenore Tawney (1907–2007) was an American artist who became an influential figure in the development of fiber art. Tawney’s introduction to the tenets of the German Bauhaus and the artistic avant-garde began in 1946 when she attended László Moholy-Nagy’s Chicago Institute of Design. She studied with Moholy-Nagy, Cubist sculptor Alexander Archipenko, and abstract expressionist painter Emerson Woelffer, among others, and in 1949, she studied weaving with Marli Ehrman. In 1957 she moved to New York City, where she became associated with a generation of artists including Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana, Agnes Martin and Jack Youngerman. Since then, Tawney lived and worked mainly in New York. She was the veteran of more than two dozen solo exhibitions in leading galleries and museums and participated in dozens of important group exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as many other institutions and private collections. Two major monographs on her work—Lenore Tawney, A Retrospective, American Craft Museum (1990) and Lenore Tawney: Signs on the Wind, Postcard Collages (2002)—have been published.

Margaret Taylor-Burroughs (1915–2010) was an African-American artist and writer and a co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History. She also helped to establish the South Side Community Art Center, whose opening on May 1, 1941 was dedicated by the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. At the age of twenty-three Burroughs served as the youngest member of its board of directors. She was a prolific writer, with her efforts directed toward the exploration of the black experience and of children, especially with regard to their appreciation of cultural identity and their introduction to art. She is credited with the founding of Chicago’s Lake Meadows Art Fair in the early 1950s, giving galleries for African-American artists a venue to exhibit and sell their artwork. The fair rapidly grew in popularity and became one of the most anticipated exhibitions for artists, collectors, and others throughout the greater Chicago area. After a brief hiatus beginning in the early 1980s, it was resurrected by Helen Y. West in 2005, and another of Burroughs’s legacies lives on.

Elizabeth E. Terrell (1908–1993) was an American artist who completed works for the Works Progress Administration. Born in Toledo, Ohio, she created abstractions, still-life paintings, and murals in a range of mediums, from mosaics to gouache and oil. Her work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her mural Reforestation (1942) was produced for the Starke, Florida, Post Office.

Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954) was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of former slaves. She became one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree in the United States and went on to teach at the secondary-school and college level in Washington, D.C. Terrell was appointed the first female African-American member of the Board of Education in Washinton, D.C. She was also an activist in the civil rights and women’s movements. One of only two women invited to the first organizational meeting of the NAACP, she became one of its founding members. She also helped to establish the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and fought for the integration of eating places in Washington, D.C. Terrell’s work as a journalist was published in both black- and white-focused publications. She was influential in promoting the African-American women’s club movement. Terrell continued to be an activist and participate in picket lines well into her senior years. She passed away in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1954, two months after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education ruled that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional.

Ellen Terry (1847–1928) was an English actress among the most famous leading ladies of the Victorian era. She won legions of admirers with her grace and golden-haired beauty and is particularly remembered for her interpretations of Shakespearean heroines, including Portia and Beatrice, opposite Henry Irving. At the time of her death a London Times commentator concluded: “She was a woman of genius; but her genius was not that of the brain so much as of the spirit and of the heart. She was a poem in herself—a being of exquisite and mobile beauty. On the stage or off she was like the daffodils that set the poet’s heart dancing.”

Julia Thecla (1896–1973) was a Surrealist painter and sculptor of the magical realist school. She was a member of the Chicago Arts Club, the Women Artist Salon, Chicago, and the No-Jury Society of Artists, Chicago. Her work was exhibited widely, including at MoMA, the Chicago History Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the DePaul University Art Museum.

Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891–1978) was an African-American Expressionist painter and arts educator. Born in Georgia she moved with her family to Washington, D.C., in 1907, fleeing the region’s racial violence. She attended Howard University and became its first fine arts graduate in 1921. While at Howard she explored abstraction and Expressionism. A few years later Thomas began teaching art at a junior high school in Washington, a position she held for 35 years. It was not until she retired that she developed her signature style of painting. She had her first solo exhibition in 1966 at Howard University. Thomas was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and exhibited her paintings at the White House three times over the course of her career.

Polly Thompson (1885­–1960) was the companion of deaf-blind author and activist Helen Keller. She was hired as a housekeeper and eventually was promoted to secretary and became Keller’s close companion. When Anne Sullivan, Keller’s original tutor, was unable to travel with Keller, Thompson would fill her role.

Marian Tinker was a director of Camp TERA (Temporary Emergency Relief Assistance), the first She-She-She Camp located in Bear Mountain State Park, New York. The She-She-She Camps were a program of resident camps for unemployed women directed by Hilda Worthington Smith and initiated by Eleanor Roosevelt in response to the Civilian Conservation Corp or “CCC” camps initiated for unemployed men as part of the New Deal.

Nancy Jane Tison was a lender to the 1913 Armory Show.

Alice B. Toklas (1877–1967) was an American writer from San Francisco, California. Toklas moved to Paris in 1907 and met Gertrude Stein; the two were partners until Stein’s death in 1946. Stein and Toklas hosted a salon in Paris that attracted writers and painters of the American and European avantgarde. Heavily committed to Stein’s, Toklas was considered a background figure to her partner’s success for most of her life. When Stein passed away, her substantial art collection was bequeathed to Toklas, but because no legal recognition existed at the time for their partnership, Stein’s relatives eventually stole the more valuable artworks and kept them from Toklas who was left impoverished and unemployed. Toklas’s writings include articles for the New Republic and the New York Times and three books: The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, Aromas and Flavors of Past and Present, and What Is Remembered. The latter was an autobiography but ends at the death of her lover, Stein.

Margaret Tomkins (1916–2002) was an American painter who received her master’s of fine art from the University of California and worked as an assistant professor of art at the University of Washington. Her work was abstract, primarily dealing with themes of transformation and metamorphosis. Tomkins spent most of her life in the Pacific Northwest, and was known for her art activism and for founding of the first artist-owned gallery in Seattle, Washington. After her first solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum in 1941, she began working with the Federal Art Project, teaching at the Spokane Art Center, one of the leading WPA facilities in the country. Works by Tomkins appeared in several annual shows at the Whitney in New York and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in 1947 three of her pieces were selected for inclusion in the Abstract and Surrealist American Art exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute; that same year, a one-person show of twenty-three of her paintings. Tomkin’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

Katrina Trask (1853–1922) was an American author and philanthropist who founded Yaddo, an artists’ community in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her first book, Under King Constantine, was published anonymously in 1892 and was comprised of three long love poems. In addition to other works of both poetry and prose, Trask published an anti-war play just before the beginning of World War I titled In the Vanguard, which was performed by Women’s Clubs and Church Groups. She cofounded Yaddo with her husband in 1881 after all four of their children died in infancy. She converted their estate into an artists’ retreat and the first artists moved in in 1926.

Violet Trefusis (1894–1972) was a writer and socialite born in London, England. She is best remembered for her affair with Vita Sackville-West, a poet, aristocrat, and lover to Virginia Woolf. The two women met as girls at school, and Violet confessed her love to Vita at age fourteen. The two went on to live separate lives, but reunited on several occasions. However, the affair ended when Sackville-West discovered Trefusis’s marriage and suspected it was more than platonic. The two women kept in touch over the years, exchanging affectionate letters and sometimes meeting in person. Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando fictionalizes their affair, with Sackville-West appearing as the Russian princess Sasha. Trefusis sustained her own career as a writer, but it was never critically acclaimed. In her later life she was a lover to Winnaretta Singer, heiress to the Singer sewing machine company and a known womanizer. Because of her great wealth, Trefusis was able to sustain a relationship with Singer despite a general lack of social acceptance.

Sojourner Truth (1797–1883) was an abolitionist and activist born into slavery. She was sold as a commodity several times in New York State. In 1826, Truth was able to escape with her youngest daughter and stayed with another family until the New York State Emancipation Act was approved the following year. Hearing her son had been sold into slavery, Truth fought to get him back and became the first black woman to win a lawsuit against a white man. After living in New York City as a maid for ten years, Truth moved to Northampton, Massachusetts in 1842, where she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. Her book The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave was published in 1850, which enabled her to purchase her own home in Northampton. This was also the same year that she spoke at the first National Women’s Rights Convention. The following year, Truth gave her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. In 1858 Truth was accused of being a man midway through her speech; in response, she opened her blouse and showed the audience her breasts.

Mary Logan Tucker (1858–1940) was an American political activist. She attended the Convent of the Visitation, Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. Tucker organized and founded the Georgetown Alumnae Association and was elected and served as its first president in 1893. She was an active member of the Illinois State Association and the Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C. from the late nineteenth century until her death. She also served as the president of the Dames of the Loyal Legion of the United States from 1924 to 1928, and was a member of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, and the Legion of Loyal Women.

Alison Turnbull Hopkins (1880-1951) was an American suffragist who was known for her participation in the protests at the White House by the Silent Sentinels. She was on the executive board of the Congressional Union for Women’s Suffrage and was New Jersey state chair for the National Woman’s Party. She was also a member of the Heterodoxy Club. Turnbull was arrested during a protest outside the White House in 1917 and spent time in the Occoquan Workhouse but was later pardoned by President Woodrow Wilson. She would continue to join suffragists outside the White House holding signs that read, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” and “We ask not pardon ourselves but justice for all American women.”

Betty Turner is one of six artists depicted in John Sloan’s 1917 print “Arch Conspirators”. The illustration depicts the group, including Gertrude Drick and Marcel Duchamp, who climbed to the top of the Washington Arch in New York’s Washington Square Park and read their declaration of independence for the “Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square”. It was a proclamation meant to reflect the neighborhood’s bohemian and unconventional culture.

Maude Sherry Turner was a member of Heterodoxy, a feminist debate society based in Greenwich Village in the early twentieth century.

Matt Turney (1925–2009) was a dancer who grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She studied dance with Nancy Hauser and received her B.A. in dance from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After graduation, Turney moved to New York City with her friend Mary Hinkson, who joined the Martha Graham School. Soon after, Turney joined the company as one of the company’s first black dancers. She remained with the group until 1972. Turney was known for her ability to remain perfectly still during performances. Her statuesque eloquence made her a standout member of Graham’s company, and is best evidenced in her role as the Pioneer Woman in Appalachian Spring.

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