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Exhibitions

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Eleanor Merritt: Remembrance

When:
Feb 18, 2022 – Aug 21, 2022
Where:
Museum of Art
Gallery 12

 

The Ringling is pleased to present an exhibition that celebrates the life and artwork of Eleanor Merritt. Eleanor was a dedicated volunteer at The Ringling for many years as a docent and Board member. She also served as president of the Venice Art Center and was active in other arts organizations as well. Eleanor passed away in 2019 leaving a legacy of art and public service. This exhibition is dedicated to her spirit and creativity and represents a small sample of a significant body of work the artist created over her long career. Beginning with an early work from the 1950s Untitled (Seated Figure) and concluding with her last painting Blue Embrace of 2018, the exhibition highlights her creative use of materials, movement between figuration and abstraction, and her commitment to women’s rights. 

Born in Harlem in 1933, Eleanor’s talent in drawing and painting led to her acceptance to the prestigious High School for Music and Art in New York where she excelled as a student receiving the school's top art award, the St. Gauden’s Medal. She then attended Brooklyn College where she studied with some of the most influential artists of the time including Mark Rothko, Ad Rhinehart, Kurt Seligman, Burgoyne Diller and Jimmy Ernst. She absorbed the energy and physicality of her teachers’ work into her own interests in figuration and symbolism. 

Arriving in Sarasota in the 1980s, Eleanor exhibited widely in Florida. Her final exhibition in 2017 at the Arts & Cultural Alliance celebrated her 60 years of painting. In 2013, she received national recognition with an exhibition at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. We are pleased to announce along with this exhibition, the acquisition of three works into the permanent collection of The Ringling. 

The works in the exhibition come from the artist’s estate and from a few prestigious private collections. The artist’s daughter, Lisa, and artist Mike Solomon were critical guides in the development of this exhibition.

Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues. Support for this exhibition was provided by the Selby Foundation Ringling Museum Endowment.

Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax

Image: Eleanor Merritt
Remembrance
Mixed media on paper
Overall: 36 × 28 in. (91.4 × 71.1 cm)
On loan from the Estate of the artist.
IL2021.29.17

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