Lucia Stern (1895 - 1987)

Birth date: 1895 Death date: 1987  
Birth location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Collage , Drawing , Fresco , Mixed Media , Mosaic , Mural , Painting , Sculpture , Textile , Wood Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


Lucia Stern
Born 1895 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Lucia Stern (neé Martha Ida Lucia Karker), was largely self-taught as a painter and sculptor; her formal training was in music and literature. Stern studied at the Milwaukee Conservatory, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Columbia University from 1918-1922. She married Erick Stern, a Milwaukee lawyer, in 1930. Stern served on the board of the Milwaukee Art Institute from 1933 and became a trustee in 1967 when it was the Milwaukee Art Center. She didn't begin to work regularly as an artist until 1935.  She became a docent and lecturer at the Milwaukee Art Institute in 1942, continuing in that capacity for the next forty years. Stern was instrumental in beginning the “Touch the Great” and “Women in the Arts” lecture series at the Milwaukee Art Center. Her characteristic approach in painting, lecturing and writing was to borrow styles or quotes from her contemporaries and modify them.  

Stern was recognized as one of the leading promulgators of non-objective art in the United States.  She absorbed the modernist spirit from Picasso and Brancusi, but experimental non-objective and abstract artists such as Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and Naum Gabo also influenced her.  Her work evolved over a fifty-year period and encompassed decoupage, drawing, painting, and sculpture, with an increasing emphasis on three-dimensional works.  Stern is remembered primarily for her mixed media works combining stitched lines and cut net with more traditional artistic media, and for her early use of abstract compositions. She is also remembered for her warm, optimistic nature and for her dedication to the arts as an artist and spokesperson.  In 1972, Stern was elected “Woman of the Year” by the Friends of Art of the Milwaukee Art Center.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan
Lucia Stern: Designer at Work, Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin 
1962 Lucia Stern: Wisconsin Designer, Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Layton School of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Lucia Stern: Design in Decoupage,  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Art History Gallery
1977 Lucia Stern: A Life in Design, Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1989  Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lucia Stern: A Re-evaluation

Selected Group Exhibitions

WI Painters & Sculptors Exhibition. Milwaukee. Vocational School, Milwaukee Art Institute,Wisconsin
1944  55th Annual Exhibition of Watercolor and Drawing, Art Institute of Chicago
Annual Group Exhbitions, Museum of Non-Objective Painting (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York) 
1945 Milwaukee Art institute, Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen Show
1945 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois, Institute Watercolor Show
1945 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Paintings by Milwaukee Artists
1951 Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, France, Salon des Realites Nouvelle
1960 Kunstkabinet, Frankfort, Germany
1965 Wisconsin Renissance, Marine National Bank Exchange, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1978 Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years 

Selected Publications

Basic Criteria For Contemporary Painting and Sculpture,Artists Who Explore  by Lucia Stern, Downer College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Criteria for Modern Art by Lucia Stern 
German –American Artists in Early Milwaukee  by Peter C. Merrill

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

No art organizations were found.

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