Three Dames Create New Website for International Hildreth Meière Association

The International Hildreth Meière Association has recently launched a new website that encompasses almost all of American Art Deco muralist Hildreth Meière’s 100 commissions. The website was a collaborative project among three Dames: Hildreth Meière’s daughter, Louise Meière Dunn, granddaughter Hildreth Meière Dunn, and art historian Catherine Coleman Brawer. Hildreth (Hilly) Dunn was responsible for the photographs on the website, and Catherine Brawer wrote the text. They also collaborated on The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière, which was co-authored by Catherine Brawer.

Hildreth Meière (pronounced me-AIR) joined the CDA during World War II in 1944. At the time, she was hard at work organizing artists to paint portable altarpieces for the Armed Services. As she herself later explained,

During the Second World War, being too old for the Waves, I taught First Aid, and as Vice-President of the Citizens Committee for the Army, Navy, and Air Corps, Inc. organized a group of artists who designed and painted portable triptychs for the Service chaplains. We sent out over five hundred of which I did over seventy.

By 1944, Meière (1892-1961) had become one of the most sought-after muralists in America. She was known across the country for her architectural decoration, most of it in her personal Art Deco style. Among her best known commissions are the Great Hall of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC; and the domes and floors of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.

In New York she designed enormous mixed metal and enamel roundels of Dance, Drama and Song for the 50th Street façade of Radio City Music Hall; the apse, narthex and clerestory windows of St. Bartholomew’s Church; and an eight-story-high mosaic arch at Temple Emanu-El. When she became a Dame, she had just designed the first of nine major mosaic commissions at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Meière had always been patriotic. During World War I, she trained as a map maker and joined the Navy as an architectural draftsman. Photographs of Meière in her Naval uniform will be included in an exhibition celebrating the centennial of the end of World War I to be held at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum this summer.

Pictured above: Great Hall, National Academy of Sciences, 1924; Vestibule dome, Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, 1924; 3 50th Street facade, Radio City Music Hall, 1932; North dome and wall, Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, 1957.

1 – Hildreth Meière (“Her Life and Times (not Hard),” c. 1955. Hildreth Meière Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.