More About the Author
In writing a book or curating an exhibition, I like to start with the objects and let them tell a story. Each adds a new dimension to an all-inclusive narrative.
I had never heard of Hildreth Meière until my husband and I moved into an apartment that had been her studio from 1949 to 1961. In writing The Studio Building, I researched Meière, only to learn that she was one of the foremost American Art Deco muralists of the twentieth century. Her work can be seen across the country--from Radio City Music Hall, St. Bartholomew's Church, and Temple Emanu-El in New York to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln. Although Meière was well-known during her lifetime--she received awards from the Architectural League of New York in 1928 and the American Institute of Architects in 1956--her name has since been forgotten.
The first works I saw were Meière's beautiful gouache studies of Dance and Song for the facade of Radio City. When I saw how these painted designs were translated into mixed metal and enamel on the building's facade, I was captivated.
I brought Meière to the attention of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University and in 2009 curated an exhibition with catalogue on Meière's architectural decoration. Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière traveled to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2011 and to the Museum of Biblical Art in New York in 2012. Forty thousand people visited the exhibition--clearly the time was right for a book focusing on her Art Deco style.
Art and architectural historian Kathleen Murphy Skolnik was also intrigued by Meière, and together we decided to write The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière. We asked Richard Guy Wilson, another fan of Meière's architectural decoration, to write a foreword. And we could not have proceeded without Hildreth Meière Dunn, granddaughter of the artist, who has spent more than six years photographing Meière's on-site murals and studies in private collections. After years of collaboration, the book team is in agreement: Meière's designs are as striking today as they were when she created them almost a century ago.