The Latest from American Women Artists

Carrie Waller Abundance

Louise Emerson Ronnebeck – American Painter and Muralist

Recently I attended the California Art Club’s annual Gold Medal Show at the Autry Museum. Chatting with one of the artists, his wife inquired whether or not I had heard of Louise Emerson Ronnebeck (1901-1980). Because I hadn’t, my friends had Louise’s granddaughter, Amy Ronnebeck Hall, contact me with information about her pioneering grandmother.  I was intrigued.  We hear so few stories about women artists from the previous two generations.  I thought I would share with you what Amy wrote about her grandmother. I hope you’ll feel as inspired as I was.    

Louise was an American painter and muralist best known for her murals executed for the Works Progress Administration. In 1926, she married modernist sculptor and lithographer, Arnold Ronnebeck (1885-1947), and settled in Denver, Colorado. She built a successful painting career documenting American western history and contemporary social issues of the 1930s and 1940s. She entered 16 WPA competitons, and was awarded two commissions — Worland, Wyoming in 1937 and Grand Junction, Colorado in 1940. She successfully balanced work and family long before it was the norm. She worked tirelessly on public and private mural commissions (some in the fresco medium) in the Denver area, as well as completing hundreds of easel paintings. Her most active period was 1925-1947. She continued to work until the early 1970s, teaching art at Denver University and completing several large-scale mural projects in the 1950s and 1960s.

As it happens, Louise’s work has been shown at the Autry.  Two of her paintings were included in the 1955 show, Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West 1890-1945.

To learn more about Louise and see her works: CLICK HERE

Wikipedia biography: CLICK HERE