Loren MacIver (American, 1909-1998), a New York City native, received her only formal training in the form of Saturday lessons at the Art Student’s League at the age of ten. At a time when gaining notoriety as a female artist was highly unusual, MacIver was able to find success in part because of the close circle of literati friends who advocated for her work, including her husband Lloyd Frankenberg, and friends Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and e e cummings. Throughout her life, MacIver was uncompromisingly dedicated to her own distinctive style of painting, in which she depicted everyday scenes and objects in emotive, ethereal light and color. She led an adventurous life, and spent time alongside the French landscape while living abroad in the 1960s, as well as the gnarled trees of Cape Cod where she and her husband spent the summers in a shack they made of driftwood. Although her changing environment provoked slight evolutions in her style over time, all of MacIver’s paintings maintain a consistency that reveals her unique and visually eloquent approach to the world.
MacIver was successful early on in her career— in 1935 she became the first-ever female artist to be represented in the MoMa permanent collection, and in 1940, at the age of 30, Pierre Matisse began to represent her in his gallery. Her work was later exhibited in the American Pavilion at the 1962 Venice Biennale. She continued to show her work at major museums nationally and internationally until her death in 1998, at the age of 89.