Rose Piper: New Discoveries
Rose Piper (1917- 2005) was an African-American artist, based primarily in New York, who garnered attention with her success in oil painting. She utilized her talent to transcend medium in a multidisciplinary career. Although Piper is not a widely known artist, her ability and skill make her deserving of a place in the art historical narrative. I have organized her career into three distinct time phases: 1) early career (1940s-1950s), 2) middle career (1950s-1970s) and 3) late career (1970s-1990s). Piper’s early career consisted mostly of oil paintings completed under the award of two Rosenwald Fellowships for which she was encouraged to apply while studying at the Arts Students League. The Blues and Negro Folk Song series exposed Piper’s work to a larger audience, earning critically acclaimed reviews. In 1948, Piper traveled to Paris to continue her studies at École des Beaux-Arts. After she returned to the United States, financial constraints prompted her to begin her commercial career. Piper’s middle career spanned the majority of her working lifr. During the early 1950s she began Ransier Studio Cards, a greeting card company at which she was involved in the entire production process. After the business folded, Piper began a twenty-eight year term in the textile industry where she rose through the ranks of the garment industry. Piper’s textile career included over ten design firms, some of the firms included: JJ Knitted Fabrics, Fred Levy Studio, and many others. In 1979, Piper retired from the textile industry and returned to creating fine art. In her late career, she combined her art historical knowledge and eye for detail to create a new body of work which differed stylistically from her early career combining her knack for oil painting and textile design. Ultimately, Piper gained recognition for her contributions to art in the twentieth century. She was honored with a series of retrospectives that continued until 2003, just two years before the artist’s death. Although Piper’s artwork is now shown around the globe, there is still very little known about her entire career as an artist.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Early career 1940s-1950s -- Middle career 1950s-1970s -- Late career 1970s-1990s -- Relevance