Students Walking, 1971, Aquatint
Isabel Bishop (American, 1902 – 1988)
Etching and aquatint
Gift of Myron A. and Anne Jaffe Portenar
American painter Isabel Bishop was a well-known member of the Fourteenth Street School, a group of artists who painted life in downtown New York City in the 1920s and 30s. Born in Cincinnati, Bishop moved to New York when she was sixteen years old. She studied painting at the Art Students League with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Guy Pène du Bois, and set up a studio near Union Square in Manhattan. In the 1930s, Bishop began teaching at the Art Students League, and was the only fulltime female instructor at the time. Along with other Fourteenth Street painters, Bishop produced scenes of the gritty life of New York’s urban working class. Bishop’s work often captured city-dwellers walking on the streets or in crowds, and she had a particular affinity for the female office workers who congregated in the park across from her studio.
This black and white print captures the movement of students in the rush of their daily lives. Their blurred figures obscure recognizable details, lending them an air of anonymity as they crisscross each other’s paths.