Marguerite Zorach

born Santa Rosa, CA 1887-died New York City 1968
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Marguerite Zorach in her studio, © Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0029484
Also known as
  • Marguerite Thompson
  • Marguerite Thompson Zorach
Santa Rosa, California, United States
New York, New York, United States
Active in
  • Georgetown Island, Maine, United States
  • American

Painter, weaver, graphic artist. Along with her husband, sculptor William Zorach, she was an innovator in the modernist movement in the United States. With her embroidered tapestries, she distinguished herself as an outstanding designer.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Artist Biography

Reviews of the landmark 1913 Armory Show mention the work of only one Zorach, Marguerite. Today, however, Marguerite Thompson Zorach's reputation is largely overshadowed by that of her sculptor husband, William. And yet the attention Marguerite attracted should come as no surprise. She was an early exponent of modernism in America, employing the bold colors of the Fauves (a group of radical French painters) with the striking, and controversial, forms of cubism. Marguerite's modernist credentials were impeccable. An acquaintance of Pablo Picasso and the expatriate Gertrude Stein, she attended La Palette, a school of "post-impressionists," and exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and the Société des Artistes Indépendants.

She married William in 1912, returned to the United States, and together they began summering in New England. After several restless seasons in New Hampshire and Provincetown, Massachusetts, the Zorachs purchased a farm in Robinhood Cove near Stonington, Maine. Marguerite continued to paint, but she also turned her attention to fiber art in the form of embroidery and batik. Through the use of these traditional materials, Zorach articulated her uniquely modern vision of old New England.

William H. Truettner and Roger B. Stein, editors, with contributions by Dona Brown, Thomas Andrew Denenberg, Judith K. Maxwell, Stephen Nissenbaum, Bruce Robertson, Roger B. Stein, and William H. Truettner Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory (Washington, D.C.; New Haven, Conn; and London: National Museum of American Art with Yale University Press, 1999)


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Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women
May 31, 2024January 5, 2025
The artists in Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women mastered and subverted the everyday materials of cotton, felt, and wool to create deeply personal artworks.