Ida Kohlmeyer

Ida Rittenber’s parents were Polish immigrants who established a pawnshop business in New Orleans, where Ida was born and raised. It was here that Ida studied English Literature at Tulane University and received her B.A. in 1933. Her interest in literature transformed into a fascination for the Latin American arts after she met and married her husband Hugh Kohlmeyer in 1934. Her growing desire to paint led Ida to attend the John McCrady Art School in 1947 and later take classes at Tulane’s Newcomb College as a special student under the direction of Pat Trevigno. She graduated from Newcomb College and received her M.F.A in 1956. She went on to attend summer classes in Massachusetts where she was instructed by the great Hans Hoffman and was highly influenced by Abstract Expressionism. In 1959 she held her first solo exhibition at the Ruth White Gallery in New York. In 1966 Kohlmeyer was commissioned by the Peace Corps to make a painting as a gift for a retired Sergeant Shriver. She was also appointed the associate professor of art at the University of New Orleans in 1973, and in 1982 she was acclaimed as an honorary life member of National Women’s Caucus for Art. As a painter and sculptor Kohlmeyer was well known and represented on both the west and east coasts. She died on January 29, 1997 at the age of eighty-five.

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