The de Menil Gallery Archive

Works of Passion

by Nancy Ellen Craig
April 2 - June 1, 2012

Nancy Ellen Craig began her long career as a portraitist. Among her many subjects have been artists (Hans Hofmann, Paul Cadmus), writers (Norman Mailer, Irwin Shaw), architects (Frank Lloyd Wright), and film stars (Cliff Robertson, Angelica Huston), as well as members of European royal families. Her careful technique and acute psychological insight have prompted comparison with that supreme American portrait painter, Thomas Eakins.

During the 1960s, she left New York to live with her poet husband in remote seclusion in Truro on Cape Cod.  When she wasn't away on a portrait commission, she began doing larger paintings—mural-size canvases—in her barn-studio. The inspiration for these canvasses comes from mythology, the Bible, political subjects, and her own imagination.