Hildreth Meiere

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Reconstruction of an ammonite by mosaicist Hildreth Meiere (Nebraska State Capitol)

Hildreth Meiere (1892 New York City – 1961), American artist, architectural artist, muralist and mosaicist.



After studying at New York's Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, Meiere studied in Florence. Being exposed to the Renaissance Masters, she is quoted as saying, "After that I could not be satisfied with anything less than a big wall to paint on. I just had to be a mural painter." (Chandler, Don, Hildreth Meiere Profile ) She furthered her studies at the Art Students League of New York, San Francisco, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New York School of Applied Design for Women and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design. After training as a mapmaker, Meiere served her country as a draftsman in the U.S. Navy during World War I. During Meiere's successful career, spanning 30 years and working on over 100 commissions, she became well known for contributing well-integrated public art mosaics to many landmark buildings and is most closely associated with the Art Deco movement. Among many awards, she was the first woman honored with the Fine Arts Medal of the American Institute of Architects, and she was the first woman appointed to the New York Art Commission.

Meiere and sculptor Lee Lawrie were members of the loose "repertory company" of artists assembled by architect Bertram Goodhue. Goodhue's Nebraska State Capitol was her first major commission, and lead to other work related to Goodhue and his circle. Her work can be seen from New York to California. Some of Meiere's best work is very visible in Manhattan, although reportedly she was proudest of her work on the Nebraska State Capitol.

Meiere served on the Citizen’s Committee for the Army and Navy, providing portable altar pieces for military chaplains. This campaign created over 500 mobile 4’x6’ triptychs, 70 of her own design which could be used on base-camps, battleships, and hospitals worldwide. She taught first aid for the Red Cross after the US entered World War II. The Liturgical Arts Society was founded in her studio at 200 West 57th Street, New York City. In addition she served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters, twice, and Director of the Municipal Arts Society. She was also a member of the Architectural League of New York and the Architectural Guild of America.

Asked how to say her name, she told The Literary Digest (which spelled the name Meière) "It is of French origin and I pronounce it mee-AIR. My father's family anglicized the pronunciation to meer, but I have always used the more proper form." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)

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