Silver Grey, 1974, Acrylic on Canvas, 45″ X 43″
Looking Out, 1957, Oil on Canvas, 50″ x 40″

Betty Parsons


Betty Parsons began her gallery in 1946 at the site of the Mortimer Brandt Gallery where she previously worked. She exhibited all the male stars of the period, now our blue chip group. After exposure to this exciting, diverse, experimental environment, she explored these avant-garde influences in her own painting. They became larger and her palette contained a wide range of color. She recorded her explorations of nature with radiant light in the 50’s paintings.

In the 60’s she changed her medium to acrylic, (as did many artists), resulting in a flatter surface of brilliant color. She differed from her male stable in her use of titles for her work rather than numbers. She was very poetic and enjoyed playing with words.

As a dealer, Betty didn’t exhibit her own paintings; many of her artists didn’t even know that she also was an artist. She was with the Midtown Gallery and didn’t show very often in the 50’s. In the 60’s she had several museum and university exhibitions. In 1968, she was exhibited at London’s Whitechapel Gallery and became an international artist. Her private art collection of 300 works traveled around America.

In the late 60’s Betty started working on the found wood constructions at her home on the beach in Southold, L.I. She picked up “carpenter throwaways”. Many people consider her sculpture her best known work. They go back to her original interest in the Indian Space Painters who linked Native American art and modernism.

How fortunate the art world is that there was an artist, dealer and collector, Betty Parsons, who took chances and exhibited work of artists that she believed should be seen not just for commercial value.

-Anita Shapolsky