Vera Eugenia Andrus (1896 - 1979)
We have represented the estate of Vera Andrus for several years, and have numerous collectors for her work. In all, over the years, we have documented 76 different lithographic works by the artist. Today, we have about 45 of her lithographic titles for sale, though most are rare, and almost half are the last impressions available. We also have numerous watercolors by the artist, many with the same or similar views as her lithographs. Andrus worked in the Hudson River Valley and New York City from the 1930s to about 1957 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and later opened a gallery in Rockport, Massachusetts where she worked until the early 1970s.
Born in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Vera Andrus attended the Minnesota School of Architecture and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In 1934, she won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York, studying there with Boardman Robinson, George Groz and Eugene Fitsch. She became a lifelong friend of another Minnesota artist, Wanda Gag (1893-1946), whose lithographs sometimes reflected the same subjects.
She printed her lithographs in small editions, from sometimes less than 20 to 50, making them more difficult to find as time goes on. While she also produced watercolors, oil paintings, and book illustrations, lithography was her life-long devotion.
“The first time I drew on a stone, “ she once stated, “I felt as though I had turned a corner and found something that I had been looking for all of my life.” By 1970 she had created some 76 lithographs, relying throughout her career on the talents of master printer George C. Miller and his son Burr.
From 1931 to 1957, she was a staff member at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commuting from Dobbs Ferry in the Hudson River Valley, where a prominent and wealthy branch of the Andrus family had settled. In the 1930’s she traveled to Canada’s Gaspe Peninsula and Nova Scotia, and in the 1950’s went to France on a scholarship. Both voyages proved inspiration for some of the stunning images. Finally she went to live and work for many years in Rockport, Massachusetts, where she had a gallery and sold her work, and where she died at 83.
She was a member of numerous art associations including the American Artists Group, Rockport Art Association and the Hudson Valley Art Association. In 1950 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, London.
She was awarded several prizes, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and numerous others (see next page). Our records indicate that she also exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others, and had one-woman shows at the Smithsonian Institution, the Rockport Art Association, and elsewhere.
She authored three books: Sea Bird Island, (Harcourt Brace, 1939); Sea Dust, (Wake Brook, 1955); and
Black River, A Wisconsin Story, (Little-Brown, 1967.) The first two are also illustrated by the author, often using scratchboards to develop her illustrations and later rendering them as lithographs.
In 1980, June and Norman Kraeft of the June 1 Gallery in Connecticut held the first important retrospective of her work featuring some 40 lithographs. Adding significantly to the information available on the artist, the show demonstrated her significant contribution to lithographic art in the 20th Century. Since 1989 we have collected her lithographs and handled her estate. We hope this catalogue sheds new light on Vera's work.
Available at: http://tinyurl.com/VeraAndrusCatalogue