Gretna Campbell

Gretna Campbell (1922–1987) was born in The Bronx, New York. She attended the WPA Art Workshop in 1939, and Cooper Union Day Art School from 1939 to 1944, when she was included in the Chicago Art Institute Painting Annual. In 1945, Campbell attended the Art Student’s League and received the Pearl Fund Fellowship. In 1946, Campbell married the painter Louis Finkelstein (whose work is also in the Rock Creek Collection), and in 1950, they bought a house on Cranberry Isle, Maine, where they both painted in summers for the next thirty-six years. In 1953, Campbell was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to France, and her work was included in the Whitney Annual. Campbell taught at the Brooklyn Museum, Yale University, Maryland Institute College of Art, New York Studio School, and Pratt Institute. She was awarded the Benjamin Altman Prize in Landscape Painting, National Academy of Design in New York, the Ranger Fund Purchase Award, and Award in Art, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York. She had many solo shows most notably at the Zabriskie and Ingber Galleries; her estate was represented by Tibor De Nagy. Her work is in major museum collections throughout the United States, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Modem Art in New York City.

Campbell’s husband, Louis Finkelstein, wrote: “Each year her language became more sure, more supple, more venturesome. Her color opened up, and also her space, pulling the viewer’s attention from close at hand, the ‘entry’ into depth and back again to the surface. She was still discovering the resources of this taut space and newly vibrant color during her final illness.” Campbell died of complications from cancer in 1987.