NANCY SPERO

(1926 – 2009; Cleveland, Ohio, USA)


Lived in New York City, USA

 

As both artist and activist, Nancy Spero had a career that spanned fifty years. She is known for her continuous engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural concerns. Spero chronicled wars and apocalyptic violence as well as articulating visions of ecstatic rebirth and the celebratory cycles of life. Her complex network of collective and individual voices was a catalyst for the creation of her figurative lexicon representing women from prehistory to the present in such epic-scale paintings and collage on paper as Torture of Women (1976), Notes in Time on Women (1979) and The First Language (1981). In 2010, Notes in Time was posthumously reanimated as a digital scroll in the online magazine Triple Canopy.

 

Among Spero’s peers at the Art Institute of Chicago was a young GI who had returned from service in World War II, Leon Golub. Spero and Golub exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago as part of the group the Monster Roster. After her graduation from the Art Institute Spero continued to study painting in Paris at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and at the Atelier of Andre Lhote, an early Cubist painter, teacher and critic. Soon after her return to the United States in 1950, she married Leon Golub, and the two artists settled in Chicago.