1871 - 1955
Historical Rhode Island artist
Eliza Gardiner is among the most significant artists to emerge from Rhode Island. This native Rhode Islander’s fame is a result of her pioneer work in block printing. She was one of the first American artists to achieve national recognition in the medium of color block printing. It was not only her technical ability which won such acclaim, but her special interest in studies of children at play or people on holiday. In her work she was able to communicate a simple, direct statement with a serenity of feeling. In a 1929 Providence Journal review of her Vose Gallery Show the critic commented, “ I had never realized how much the feeling of childhood, tenderness, contentment or sadness could be revealed in flat spaces of color, until I saw Eliza Gardiner’s wood-block prints.”
Eliza Gardiner was a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and taught there for 30 years. The special affection and tenderness expressed in her wood block prints reveal the very nature of Miss Gardiner. She was very popular among students and her studio at Pawtuxet Cove was a mecca for students during her lifetime.
While Eliza achieved recognition as a block-print artist, she was also a good water colorist. Her landscapes, still lifes and portrait sketches demonstrate integrity, however these never achieved the attention accorded her wood-block prints.
The wood block prints of Eliza Gardiner are represented in museum collections both in the United States and abroad. She exhibited these block prints at the American Wood Block shows in Chicago, New York and the Philadelphia Academy. She was represented in the International print show at Ufizza Gallery in Florence, at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, 1928, the International Society of Print Makers in California, The Springfield Public Library, Detroit Institute of Art, The Philadelphia Print Club and the Rhode Island School of Design. She was a member of the Providence Art Club, The Providence Water Color Club and The California Print Maker’s Society.