biography of Sarah Freedman MCPHERSON (1894-1978)

Birth place: Cleveland, OH

Death place: NYC

Addresses: NYC/summers on Monhegan Island, ME, 1928-78

Profession: Painter

Studied: Académie Julian, Paris

Exhibited: S. Indp. A., 1917-21, 1923-32, 1935; Monhegan Mus., 1980 (solo)

Comments: Bohemian artist who was part of the Greenwich Village circle that included John Reed, Rockwell Kent, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Eugene O'Neill. She lived in Paris during the 1920s and was the subject of a series of photographs by Man Ray and was a friend to Marcel Duchamp, Djuna Barnes, and other avant-garde artists and writers. Her work was little exhibited in her lifetime but was praised highly by critics such as Walter Pach and by her wide circle of artist friends. Her early work consisted primarily of large pastels but she later produced mostly watercolor miniatures in a neo-primitive style, taking on a variety of subjects including wheelbarrels, oil lamps, seagulls, and nudes. Well-known and loved on the island of Monhegan, McPherson would sometimes hang her work by clothespins at the back of Monhegan"s Periwinkle coffee shop, selling her miniatures for as little as five dollars.

Sources: Robert Karen, "The Lost Art of Sarah McPherson," New York (August 17, 1981); info. courtesy John Day, Falmouth, Maine.