Judging from past posts on this blog, one might get the impression that all of the images held in our archives are black and white or sepia-toned. There are, however, occasional bursts of vibrant color, as is the case with the images of artwork created by Elizabeth “Betty” Voelker.
Voelker, an internationally known artist and colorist from Pittsburgh, attended Carnegie Institute of Technology (today known as Carnegie Mellon University), where she studied under Samuel Rosenberg. Rosenberg, whose 1940 painting Bigelow Boulevard under Construction currently hangs in the reading room of the Detre Library and Archives, also taught artists Andy Warhol and Philip Pearlstein. Graduating with a B.F.A. in 1953, Voelker was active with Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and exhibited at Carnegie Museum of Art before moving to San Francisco in 1958.
During the course of her career, Voelker received three grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, held two residencies at the American Academy in Rome, and particapated in the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies program, which promoted American art abroad. Her pieces have been purchased by a number of museums in the U.S. including the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Institute Art Museum in Pittsburgh.
The Elizabeth Voelker Papers and Photographs contain prints and roughly 500 annotated 35mm slides of her artwork. Click here to view the finding aid for the collection.