The Sea City

Born in Cologne, Germany, Betty Waldo Parrish was a painter and printmaker known for her detailed landscapes and cityscapes. She studied art at the Academie Julian in Paris, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, at the Art Students League in New York under the artist John Sloan.

During the Great Depression she worked under the Works Progress Administration, a federal program that helped create work for millions of Americans, including artists. The expressive power of woodcut lines made the medium a favorite among WPA printmakers.

Parish is best known for her paintings and engravings of landscapes and cityscapes. Here, The Sea City from 1947, an intricate black and white woodcut depicts a quaint village scene near a wharf. It seems at once an accurate rendering of a seaside community, but it also has an emotional quality that speaks to the hardscrabble life the city’s inhabitants lead. Among Parish’s accomplishments are a research prize from the National Association of Women Artists and a National Arts Club Award for graphics.

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