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Ethel Edwards papers, circa 1929-1999

Biographical Note

Ethel Edwards (1914-1999) was a painter, illustrator, and educator active in New Orleans, LA, New York City, Provincetown, RI, and Wellfleet, MA.
Ethel Edwards was born in New Orleans in 1914 and attended Newcomb College in 1933 on scholarship. Her instructor for life drawing, watercolor, and portrait drawing was painter Xavier Gonzalez, whom she married in 1936 in Texas, where Gonzalez ran a summer school. She studied in Paris from 1937 to 1938. She returned to Alpine, Texas where, in 1939, she won a national mural competition to paint a mural in the U.S. Post Office in Lampasas, Texas. In 1942 she completed a second post office in Lake Providence, Louisiana.
In 1942, Edwards and Gonzalez moved to New York City, where Edwards continued to paint, working with powdered color and egg-oil emulsion and experimenting with line in various media and surfaces. She also worked as a fashion illustrator for Town and Country and Fortune magazines in 1944 and 1945. In 1946, her illustrations for Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince were shown at the Museum of Modern Art. She regularly exhibited in New York City, Provincetown, and Wellfleet, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, where she and Gonzalez also operated the Wellfleet Art Gallery which served as a gallery, studio, and art school. For many years, she taught at the Art Students League and Truro Center for the Arts.
Edwards died in New York in 1999.