Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer -- a photograph of the artist in 1965 (age 53)
A later photograph -- 1996 (age 84)
Comparative Timeline of Ida Kohlmeyer's life and work:
1912 -- Ida Rittenberg (later Kohlmeyer) is born in New Orleans during the same year that the Titanic sunk off the coast of
1913 -- (Ida is 1) The Armory Show opens exhibiting a substantial collection of modern art to America. About the show, President
Theodore Roosevelt said, "That's not art!"
1916 (Ida is 4) The Dada art movement is created in Zurich, Switzerland and the Panama Canal officially opens .
According to its proponents, Dada was not art it was "anti-art". Dada sought to fight art with art. For everything that art
stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite. If art is to appeal to sensibilities, Dada is to offend.
1931 (Ida is 19) The first big Surrealist exhibition is shown in the United State and the Empire State Building opens.
1933 Ida earns a B.A., English Literature, Newcomb College, New Orleans, LA. She is 21 years old.
1935 (Ida is 23) WPA, formed under President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, employs artists to decorate public buildings and
1937 (Ida is 25) Picasso paints Guernica, a reaction to the Spanish Civil War
1938 (Ida is 26) Kristallnacht -- Nazis destroy Jewish synagogues throughout Germany and Austria
1946 (Ida is 34) Jackson Pollock takes the canvas off the easel and onto the floor creating his all over drip paintings.
1949 -- Ida enters Newcomb College to study art. She is 37 years old
1956 Ida Kohlmeyer earns a Master of Fine Arts degree from Newcomb Art School, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. She then
studies with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, MA. She is 44 years old.
She taught at Newcomb from 1956 to 1965.
1957 -- Ida is 45. Mark Rothko came to New Orleans, as a Visiting Artist at Tulane University. While in New Orleans, Rothko
lived in the Rittenberg Family home and used the garage as a studio. His abstract rectangular fields of color became a dominant
influence on Kohlmeyer in the late 1950s.
1959 F. L Wright completes the construction of the Guggenheim Museum in New York
The 1960s and early 1970s saw her moving out from under the modernist influences and searching for a personal style of intuitively
derived forms that mirror the unconscious mind. First, we see the color fields invaded by gestural marks both geometric and
biomorphic. In the mid-sixties the color-fields give way to an open neutral canvas with minimal effects, working a tension
between the structural and the emotional qualities of abstract painting.
The geometric paintings in 1968 intensify this tension locking bands of bright mystical color into bisymmetrical compound
structures based on clearly detailed organic forms. Contrary to her earlier abstract work grounded in intuition, the works
from 1967-1969 were, in the artist’s own words “were done with deliberation and aforethought.”
The geometric paintings were the transitional catharsis that set the stage for her later and more mature work.
Ida taught art at the University of New Orleans from 1973
1987-90 -- Ida is commissioned for the Aquatic Collonnade, Twenty painted metal sculptures on 16 foot columns, commissioned
by the Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans.
"Krewe of Poydras" stands in the 1500 block of Poydras Street across from the Louisiana Superdome.
1997 -- Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer dies.