American Art · Women in the Arts

The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière

Hildreth Meière's murals (1929) at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.
Hildreth Meière’s mosaics (1929) at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. Photo from

I briefly read about Art Deco designer Hildreth Meière last time I did work on Art Deco. I remember thinking it was cool and unusual that a female artist was responsible for some of the decoration in many of New York’s most significant Art Deco monuments, but I had no idea how cool she really was until I read an article about her career in Friday’s New York Times. Apparently, a book about Meière has recently been released, which I guess has either prompted or been inspired by new interest in her.

Meière's murals at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City. Photo from
Meière’s mosaics (1928) at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. Photo from

Meière (1892-1961) was a well-to-do and well-educated woman born into upper-class New York society. She was trained at several prominent art schools and was accepted into and awarded by many art societies at a time when such a thing was rare for an American woman, making her something of a pioneer as well as a highly-qualified artist. According to the article, she was “witty, bordering on imprudent” and enjoyed nightlife of all sorts (McGee). And apparently, she was a really good mural and mosaic designer. She completed major commissions for murals all across the country. Some of her most famous designs can be found at Radio City Music Hall, One Wall Street, and Rockefeller Center

A bonus, for my Art Deco-loving friends: this article about Art Deco restaurants in and around New York City appeared in the same issue of The New York Times.

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