Peter A. Juley & Son, photograph of Isabel Bishop. Black and white photographic print, 8 x 10 in. Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Isabel Bishop, Playing with an Idea (with Stanley William Hayter), 1931-43, printed 1985. Etching and engraving, plate: 5 7/8 x 3 15/16 in. (14.9 x 10 cm); sheet: 13 x 10 in. (33 x 25.4 cm). Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Mass. The Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of 1954, Collection (2008.207). © Estate of Isabel Bishop. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

10. Isabel Bishop

Life Dates1902-1988
Place of BirthCincinnati, OH, USA
Place of DeathRiverdale, NY, USA
Birth NameIsabel Bishop

The well-known urban scene painter Isabel Bishop was among the earliest wave of artists to enroll in Stanley William Hayter’s class at the New School. By the time of her attendance in 1943, she was in her forties and already well established in the New York art world, having had several solo exhibitions at the Midtown Gallery throughout the 1930s. Bishop began making figural line etchings in 1925, and she likely pursued instruction in engraving with Hayter at the encouragement of fellow Fourteenth Street School colleague Reginald Marsh, who had himself been a student at Atelier 17 in 1940. Two uneditioned plates, both recycled from earlier efforts in etching, give a snapshot of how Bishop learned to handle the engraver’s burin and execute both curved and straight lines.1 Bishop realized two engraved plates of female figures during her time at the New School, but both were editioned much later in the artist’s life. She made only one more engraving in 1949 and instead greatly favored the quickness and portability of sketching an etching from life. In 1961 Bishop transformed her printmaking practice through the introduction of aquatint, which became a major element in the remainder of her oeuvre in the graphic arts.

Selected Bibliography

Teller, Susan, and Alan Hyman. Isabel Bishop: Etchings, Engravings and Aquatints: A Catalogue Raisonné. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Art, 2000.

Todd, Ellen Wiley. The “New Woman” Revised: Painting and Gender Politics on Fourteenth Street. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.


  1. For Bishop’s engravings, see entries 7A, 12A, 30, 33, and 44 in Susan Teller and Alan Hyman, [Isabel Bishop: Etchings, Engravings and Aquatints: A Catalogue Raisonné,]{.underline} 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Art, 2000).