Mary Sinclair, A Centennial Retrospective

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • March 06, 2014

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New York Backyard, 1937
The Estate of the Artist
Judith Practicing 1978
The Estate of the Artist

May 24, 2014 is the Centennial of the birth of Mary Sinclair. The current exhibition, Mary Sinclair, A Centennial Retrospective, is on view at the Susan Teller Gallery, March 8 through April 5, 2014. It covers sixty-five years of paintings, prints, and drawings, from 1933 to 1997.

A Detroit native, Mary Sinclair (1914-2004) grew up in Connecticut. She lost her father, Samuel Eastwick Sinclair, at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. Her mother, Grace Elizabeth Williams, was a commercial artist. She married again, to colleague George Annand. Mary Sinclair was Annand’s model for the now iconic National Biscuit Company’s child in a yellow raincoat. Sinclair started to make art seriously as a child; she was nine years old when New York’s Macy’s Department Store incorporated her drawing The Queen into one of their advertisements.

After graduating from Darien High School, Connecticut, Sinclair attended the Art Students League, New York City, from 1931 to 1933.  There she met fellow student Will Barnet (1911-2012); they were married from 1933 to 1952. In the 1930s and 40s Sinclair taught art at the Birch Wathen School, NY (now the Birch Wathen Lenox School). Her second marriage, in the early 1950s was to the doctor and artist Joshua Epstein.

Sinclair had six children: Peter, Richard, Todd, Mary Elizabeth (Betsy), Margaret (Peggy), and Judith. Peter Barnet and Richard Barnet both became artists. Her children, her home, and her Union City, New Jersey, neighborhood, were Sinclair’s most important subjects. She considered herself an impressionist. Richard Barnet noted, “The skill and beauty of Mary Sinclair’s drawing-in-color does not stand alone. Rather, central to her work are the compositions. She always builds powerful designs from these elements: people and the places they inhabit.”


Throughout her life Sinclair was an active member of the artists’ community and she participated in group shows across the country. At the National Arts Club, NY, a work received the Best Oil Painting Award, 1975, and two pieces were included in American Modernist Drawings, at the Susan Teller Gallery, September 3--28, 2013. Sinclair had one-person shows at the New School for Social Research, the Van Diemen Lilienfeld Galleries (with Joshua Epstein), 1950, the Hilda Carmel Gallery, the Education Alliance of New York, the Carl Ashby Gallery, NY; the College of Mount Saint Vincent, 1992, Riverdale, NY (which also has a work by Sinclair in their permanent collection); and the Robert Hutchins Gallery, Maplewood, NJ, 1996.

Little Girl (Betsey), 1952
The Estate of the Artist

This current exhibition, Mary Sinclair, A Centennial Retrospective, is on view at the Susan Teller Gallery, March 8 through April 5, 2014.

Susan Teller
Susan Teller Gallery

Susan Teller Gallery

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