Yvonne Twining Humber: Modern Painter

September 8, 2007 – January 6, 2008

Born in New York City, Yvonne Twining Humber (1907–2004) worked as an easel painter for Boston’s Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project from 1935 to 1943. Humber’s canvases of American urban and rural landscapes demonstrated a refined Realism that combined the stylistic and thematic concerns of Regionalism with the hard-edged clarity of Precisionism.

In 1943, she married Irving Humber and moved to Seattle, where she continued to paint. Humber became active in the city’s arts community, and received a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum in 1946. However, her hard-edged Realist style—no longer supported by the ideological framework of the Federal Art Project—was not as popular in the post-war period and she struggled to find a new artistic direction for herself.

Marking the centenary of Humber’s birth, Yvonne Twining Humber: Modern Painter accentuates the artist’s contributions while also acknowledging the challenges she faced as a woman artist in the modern era. The exhibition highlights artwork from the artist’s W.P.A. years and from the 1940s, following her move to Seattle.

Humber’s artwork is included in private and public collections such as the Seattle Art Museum; the Tacoma Art Museum; the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; the Fleming Museum, University of Vermont; and the Oklahoma City Art Museum. She is perhaps best known for her legacy to women artists: the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement, bestowed annually by Artist Trust to a woman artist more than sixty years old who resides and works in Washington State.

Yvonne Twining Humber: Modern Painter is curated by Robin Held, chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections.

Image Credits:
Yvonne Twining Humber. Back Street (detail), 1940. Oil on canvas. 22 x 28 in. Private collection.
Yvonne Twining Humber. Back Street, 1940. Oil on canvas. 22 x 28 in. Private collection.
Yvonne Twining Humber. Business District, 1947. Oil on board, 24 x 20 in. Private collection.
Yvonne Twining Humber. Demolition, 1948. Oil on masonite. 25 x 32 in. Private collection.
Yvonne Twining Humber. River Picnic, 1940. Oil on canvas. 21 x 28 in. Private collection.
Yvonne Twining Humber. The Canal, 1940. Oil on canvas. 19 x 25 in. Private collection.