The late Buffalo artist Jeanette Blair, whose landscapes and abstractions seemed to vibrate with the thrum of nature, will be remembered in a memorial service planned for 2 p.m. March 13 in the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Across a prolific career that extended from the 1940s to into the 1990s and beyond, Blair's paintings have been featured in exhibitions in the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox), as well as national shows in Cooperstown, Youngstown, Ohio and elsewhere. She died on Jan. 6 at 93.
"Intimate not just with her medium but with her subject, it is evident that she appreciated and understood the nature that surrounded her," according to a short biography from Meibohm Fine Art in East Aurora. "Many of her landscapes were painted on site in the environs near her home in Holland, N.Y. With a broad treatment and ample strokes Blair’s work presents a balance between painterly spontaneity and impressionistic detail."
Blair (née Kenney) was born in Buffalo on Sept. 21, 1922 and studied painting at the Art Institute of Buffalo. In 1943, she married the renowned Buffalo watercolorist Robert Noel Blair. They had three children, Jeanne, David and Bruce.
During World War II, while her husband was in Europe, Blair worked in the drafting department at Bell Aircraft. Later, she led several Girl Scout troops. In 1980, her work was featured in the group show "Women in the Arts" in the Cork Gallery in New York City. Her paintings also appeared in shows in the Shawn Requisha Gallery in Manhattan, according to a resume provided by Bruce Blair.
Artistic genes ran in the Blair family. In addition to Jeanette Blair and Robert Blair's well-known work, Bruce Blair made his own name as a painter and David Blair has worked in photography.
In 2012, the Benjaman Gallery hosted an exhibition of Jeanette Blair's work alongside that of her husband and both of her sons.
"My parents were free to do what they wanted to do," Bruce Blair said at the time of the exhibition, "and they didn't have to conform to anybody else's standards."