Wednesday, February 20, 2019: Due to the impact of the approaching storm, PAFA will be closed. Students will still have access to their studios.

Woman with Red

Elizabeth Osborne

Woman with Red


Elizabeth Osborne (b. 1936)




Oil on canvas


63 1/8 x 46 in. (160.3 x 116.8 cm.)

Accession #:


Credit Line:

Gift of the Ford Foundation


© 1962 Elizabeth Osborne

Born in Philadelphia, Osborne trained with Hobson Pittman (as a high school student) and Neil Welliver at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy in the mid-1950s. In 1961, she joined the faculty at the Academy, where she continued to teach until retiring in 2011. She is represented in public collections including the Academy, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Deleware Art Museum.

"Woman with Red" brings to mind the domestic scenes - contemplative yet intensely colorful - of the French artist Pierre Bonnard, whom Osborne greatly admired during her student years. An early work, this painting nonetheless showcases Osborne's trademark still in evidence today: a clever balance of realism and Color Field abstraction. Her approach is partially indebted to Richard Diebenkorn, whose painterly formalism exerted some influence on Osborne's work on the early sixties. Osborne has also explored the push and pull of representation and abstraction within the context of landscape painting, conveying hypnotic clam with colorful, undulating strokes created by combining paint across the canvas in wide, gestural swipes. From the beginning of her career to the present, Osborne has always incorporated and interpreted core issues of modern painting, from the staining of raw canvas to the flattening of planes, from a schematic stylization of forms to the pragmatic investigation of the medium of paint itself.