Margaret Stark

female 1915-1988
20th Century
Life city:
Indianapolis, IN
Work city:
New York City, NY
Yasuo Kuniyoshi
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Margaret Stark was born in Indianapolis in 1915, the granddaughter of the well-known Hoosier Group painter Otto Stark. She spent much of her youth in her grandfather's workshop, completing various composition activities that he would assign her. It was there that she resolved to become a professional artist. After she graduated from Indiana University, Margaret moved to Ohio to study at Oberlin College. While she was earning a Master of Arts degree there, Margaret began to think anew about her paintings' subjects and their intent, deciding that her paintings should not be simple displays of her skill, but should be used to 'express an idea'. After earning her degree, Margaret moved to New York where enrolled at the Art Students League and studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi. She also won a scholarship to work in the studio of Hans Hoffman. Hoffman was a pioneer in the field of abstract expressionism, and Margaret future paintings owed much of their vibrancy to his influence. Margaret moved to Massachusetts in 1944 to teach art history and painting at the Fox Hollow School in Lenox. Margaret dove into her work during this time and quickly produced a substantial amount of work of such quality that Perls Galleries in New York City gave her a solo exhibition. She received critical acclaim for this show and, due to its success, had a second solo show just eighteen months later. The success of that second show led to several frenetic years of painting, exhibiting, and sales. In 1948, Margaret decided to take a break from the New York art scene and moved to a village outside of Paris. Margaret used this time to immerse herself in medieval art, particularly stained-glass windows and in 1949 she mounted a successful solo exhibition at the Galerie R. Creuze. Margaret moved back to New York after the show and teaching art, first at the Teachers College of Columbia University and then at the Museum of Modern Art. She re-emerged as a professional artist a solo show at the Alban Institute of History and Art in New York in 1962. The show was popular with the public and critics alike, and its success encouraged Margaret to seriously continue her work. Unfortunately, Margaret career hit an impasse in 1966 after her divorce form a well-known violist, Walter Trampler. Although she continued to paint, even planning a solo exhibition in the last few months of her life, Margaret was never able to recover the professional momentum she had achieved earlier. She suffered from cancer and died in 1988.

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