Rose deSmith Greenman (1898—1983)

Rose deSmith Greenman was born in Boston in 1898, but she didn’t begin creating art until after she retired in 1969. Orphaned at a young age, deSmith Greenman was raised by her extended family and graduated from Boston’s High School of Practical Arts., where she displayed a natural aptitude for the arts. In the mid 1970s deSmith Greenman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. From 1970 to 1977, while struggling with the disease, she produced a staggering number of drawings. Spending most hours alone, she drew obsessively, using any and all available scraps of paper. Working with pencils, pens, crayons, and markers, deSmith Greenman interpreted her world – creating images of her home, garden, and family as well as from the world of her imagination. Other favorite subjects included vases of flowers, fruit bowls, and television sets broadcasting invented programs. Her images frequently involve transformations; a familiar table or paper weight will often reappear with a new identity. Despite suffering from headaches, sleeplessness, disorientation, and memory loss, deSmith Greenman’s remarkable creative output continued to accelerate. Drawing consumed her life, and she often completed dozens of pictures in a day. She meticulously signed and dated almost every drawing, labeling many of them “imaginative sketches” or “doodles.” In 1977 she abruptly stopped creating art. Sixteen years after the deSmith Greenman’s death, her family rediscovered boxes of drawings that had been stored in their attic and began to share them with the art community.

More images available on request

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