Isabel Bishop

If I speak in a voice which is my own, it's bound to be the voice of a woman. - Isabel Bishop

Isabel Bishop (1902-1988) is known for her drawings and paintings of working women whom she observed around her Union Square Apartment/ Studio. Quite successful in her lifetime, she taught at the Art Students League and received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, presented to her by Jimmy Carter.

A realist, her art captured the daily routines and casual moments of the people around her. Many of her best images depict friendship between women; eating ice cream cones together, or just talking together, relaxing at lunch.

Her drawings gradually became more abstract, though still figurative. The settings faded away to just the impression of space, and specific individuals became more generalized. In her later images of people walking on the street (examples below), the figures are confident and busy, crossing paths as they walk in different directions, but not connecting. They are fashionable and exude confidence but are almost apparitions – It is hard to imagine them checking their appearance in a mirror or pausing to share a laugh or some ice cream. They seem to be in perpetual motion.

Titles of pictures from top to bottom:

Two Girls
At The Noon Hour
Young Woman
Girls Sitting in Union Square Fountain
Ice Cream Cones
Tidying Up
Five Women Walking
Students Walking