Works in the Collection
Rose Piper was born in New York in 1917 and grew up in the Bronx. She studied art and geometry at Hunter College, and after graduating in 1940, attended the Arts Students League of New York. In 1946, Piper was awarded a Julius Rosenwald fellowship, using the money to travel through the South to study the culture and music. Blues, in particular, became the inspiration for much of her early work. She had her first major solo exhibition in 1947 at the Roko Gallery in New York, a significant accomplishment considering that she was one of only four African American artists that exhibited abstract work in New York.
In 1948, she was awarded a second Rosenwald fellowship, deciding this time to travel abroad to Paris. Upon her return, Piper faced financial hardship and family misfortune, leading her to put her painting on hold and turn to alternate careers. Over the next few years, she ran a greeting card company, worked as a textile designer, and raised her family. She returned to painting in the 1980s, creating a new and distinct body of work that relied less on abstraction and instead, referenced the styles of the Flemish school and medieval illuminated manuscripts. The work was featured in another solo exhibition in New York in 1989. Rose Piper died in 2005.