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Ida Kohlmeyer

American, 1912-1997


Ida Kohlmeyer

Landscape No. 1, c. 1960

Oil on canvas
14 7/8 x 21 in
37.8 x 53.3 cm

Ida Kohlmeyer

Composition 92-E, 1992-95

Oil on canvas
24 x 36 in
61 x 91.4 cm


Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer was born in 1912 to Polish immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she would reside for most of her life. Following her graduation from Sophie Newcomb Memorial College at Tulane University, she married and raised a family. She casually began studying drawing and painting relatively late in life, taking her first classes at the John McCrady Art School in the French Quarter in 1947. Having discovered a passion for painting, she eventually pursued a master’s degree in fine arts at her alma mater. Kohlmeyer spent a formative summer at the Provincetown, Massachusetts art colony where she studied under Hans Hofmann. Rothko had come to New Orleans as a visiting artist at Tulane, and he set up his studio at Kohlmeyer’s family home. Rothko’s influence had such a profound impact on Kohlmeyer.Kohlmeyer had and admiration for artist, Joan Miró whom she had met in Paris in 1956 which later would influence her decision to develop her own code of schematic symbols, that she employed in a grid pattern that later became her distinguished, stylistic approach. In the 1960s, Kohlmeyer experimented with abstract art and became affiliated with the Ruth White Gallery in Manhattan where her work was shown on a regular basis. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, Whitney, National Museum of Women in the Arts, High Museum, Ogden Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.