Hilda Shapiro Thorpe (b. 1919, Baltimore, MD; d. 2000, Alexandria, VA) began attending classes in the fine arts at American University in her late 30s. She graduated in 1959, and was awarded a capstone exhibition at Watkins Gallery with Alma Thomas. After graduation she became the gallery’s director.

Her first appearance at the Jefferson Place Gallery was in 1959, as a part of the group exhibition, Approaches to Painting, as well as an artist featured in the gallery catalog. She would remain involved with the gallery until it closed in 1974. By 1961, she began teaching at the Mount Vernon Seminary and Junior College. Later, she would also teach at American University and the Corcoran.

Throughout her time in the gallery—as well as through her career—her work flowed through stages of experimentation and expression, and worked between painting and sculpture. Her paintings transitioned from vigorous active brush strokes, to flat steady monochromes, and the sculpture ranged from found drift-wood assemblages, to compositions constructed from off-the-shelf forms, such as pre-cut balsa, pipes, ductwork, and rolls of metal sheeting.

Solo Exhibitions
1961—Feb. 21—March 10
1963—May 7—25
1964—Oct. 4—24
1966—May 24—June 11
1968—Nov. 12—30

Group Exhibitions
1959—Approaches to Contemporary Painting, Sept. 22—Oct. 10
1959—Christmas Show, Dec. 15—Jan. 2
1960—End of Year Review, May 17—June 11
1960—Art from America’s Cities, Sept 20—Oct. 15
1960—Christmas Show, Dec. 13—Jan 7, 1961
1961—Winter ’61, Twentieth Century Gallery, Williamsburg, VA, Jan 9—Feb. 17
1961—Review and Preview, May 22—June 4
1961—The Year Ahead, Oct. 3—Nov. 4
1961—Paper Show, Dec. 5—Jan. 5, 1962
1962—Small Paintings and Sculpture, Jan. 7–27
1962—Group Show, Oct. 2—20
1965—Grand Opening, Jan. 25—Feb. 13


Artist Hilda Shapiro
Jefferson Place Gallery Catalog, 1959 [ #4 ]

connected archival press clips

In the Galleries: Hilda Shapiro
In the Galleries: Hilda Shapiro
June 13, 2024
Washington Star
Her oil paintings are abstractions composed of heavy strokes, straight, curved and varied in directions, with concentrations of colors and tones giving her compositions their individuality.