Excerpts from Hibeletter,

the official newsletter of the Edna Hibel Society:

Fall 1993                        Edna Mr Craig.jpg (681706 bytes) Edna and Clayont(click to enlarge)

Memories of the Craig’s

            This is a love story dating back to the early 60’s when the Craig’s Ethelbelle and Clayton, first met Tod and Edna.

             The “Lady” titles had not yet been conferred by England’s Queen and the  Cordon Bleu.  “America’s most beloved” was just plain, beautiful, warm, friendly, talented Edna.

             It was 1960 and Mother Hibel was presiding over a new gallery displaying the art of her talented daughter in Rockport, Mass.

             The Craig’s, long-time patrons and collectors of the arts, summered in the area and one day wandered into the gallery, curious to see what type of art could be on the inside of this converted A&P.  Were they ever surprised! They immediately fell in love with Edna’s art and purchased five paintings during this first visit.

             Almost three years later the Craig’s first met Edna.  There was an immediate rapport which grew into a lasting relationship between artist and admirers.

             The story is told about when the Craig’s visited the home of Renoir in the South of France which is now a museum.  They were appalled to discover only one Renoir painting and one sculpture.  Then and there they vowed not to allow this to happen to Hibel.  Their dream was to establish a Museum for  Hibel art.  This was not Don Quixote’s “Impossible Dream,” as their dream became a reality.

             In 1976, the Craig’s founded the Hibel Museum of Art and in January 1977 the doors opened to the acclaim of 2500 admiring Hibel fans.

             The Hibel Museum, the world’s only non-profit, public museum dedicated to the art of a living American woman, acts as a repository for the Craig’s renowned collection of over 3000 Hibel original paintings, drawings, stone lithographs and porcelain art and Hibel art donated since then by other collectors.

             Aware of the richness of Hibel’s unique contribution to the world’s art heritage, the Craig’s envisioned the Hibel Museum as a multi-functional, cultural, and educational institution, which it has become.

Parthenon.jpg (765561 bytes) Edna and Society Members at the Parthenon(click to enlarge)

 Winter 1994


“... And like Sunrise from the Sea, Athens arose” - Shelly

             Now it can be told, this Hibel saga of Ancient Greece and Turkey.

             It all started in historic Athens in October during the latter part of the Twentieth Century when 70 enthusiastic Hibel adventurers gathered together to join Lady Edna on a painting expedition.  By the time we docked in Istanbul, our final port, we all agreed that our Grecian Holiday was the best ever. 

             The combination of exciting sites, picture perfect weather, a fabulous ship, two five star hotels, plus a most wonderful group of Hibelites and, of course, traveling with Edna & Tod is always a treat, especially watching our shining star in action with her inspired paint brush.

             Come along for a look at the wonders of another world!


            Santorini, which many archeologists believe may be the site of the lost city of Atlantis, was one of the favorite stops for many of our group.       

            This enchanted island with a village perched high on a cliff appeared as I remembered it, a stirring sight. 

            The smelly mules were still there, trekking up and down the mountain, leaving a track of doo doo as they transported people up the steps to the summit. This mode of travel was fine for the young of heart, but most of us lazy folk took the easy way, the tram.

             The village had changed, I must admit.  Tourism had gobbled it up.  Wall to wall shops, mostly selling jewelry, replaced the quaint stands and a few shops that I recalled selling local handicrafts and handmade jewelry.

             And where was the little white domed church, surrounded by white washed houses that I had promised Edna would make some very picturesque paintings?

             After being pointed in the wrong direction and trekking all over the village, schlepping the easel, canvases, etc,. We finally spied the white-domed church.  It had grown!  It was no longer the little church I had conjured up in my mind, but still an inspiring scene.

             In any event, creative Edna set up shop with several different views in sight and it didn’t take very long before she was stroking the canvas and some beautiful images started appearing.

             Edna spent most of the day here, with many of our group stopping by to watch from time to time.

Spring in 1991

“Edna the “Wunderkind”

            It was not the best of times! The great depression was in full swing.  Bread lines were long and Franklin Delano was doing his best to turn things around.  The time was 1939 and Hitler was on the march in Europe.  Edna had just been awarded the coveted Sturtevant Traveling Fellowship for one year’s study abroad as a graduate of the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts.  It was a dream comes true.

            Edna’s teacher at school had been Alexander Yacovlev, a famous Russian artist  who was so  captivated with Edna’s artistic ability; he called her “The Wunderkind.” (And she was pretty too.)

            From Edna: “Tod and I had planned on getting married after I graduated.  He had graduated from Harvard the previous year and was busy learning about his father’s clothing business.  It was a dilemma!  Should I accept the fellowship or stay home and get married?

            “ I had a conference with the director of the school, Karl Zerbe, and when I told him of my problem he was surprised, as he said  “ I thought you were always so busy painting that you never had time to look at a man!

            “In a effort to convince me to accept  the fellowship, he assured me that after six months if I still wanted to get married, he would personally come with my boyfriend to Europe so we could get married and Mr. Zerbe would be best man.

            “So after discussing it further with Tod, the decision was made.  I would go to Paris to study.

            “My mother and I booked passage on the Normandy for Le Havre.  She would never let me go alone.  “My Edna alone in Paris with all those handsome Frenchmen? No way! She was only 22.”

            “I was truly excited and had plans to knock on Picasso’s door, he was in Paris at the time, and ask if I could study with him.

            “The best laid plans...War broke out in Europe and we couldn’t go.  So we decided to go to Mexico.   We were able to rent a house outside of Mexico City, which was, we were told, next door to the famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.  How exciting, I thought.  I could watch him paint and perhaps study with him.

            “Again, fate intruded.  In the middle of the night we awoke to discover that bugs had invaded our beds and most of the house. 

    “Unfortunately, the house wasn’t large enough for two Hibels and the army of Mexican troops, so we left for Mexico City and, a little later, on to Taxco.

            Mexico was enchanting and I painted up a storm, but unfortunately, the Mexican plague caught up with me and I contracted dysentery.  In spite of my misery, I managed to paint more in the three months I was there than previous Fellows had accomplished in a full year.  At least that is what I was told when I returned.

            “It was a wonderful experience which I shall never forget.” 

Excerpted from Volume 7, Number 8, Special Edition (September1998):

Magic of the Canadian Rockies !

A Communion with Nature

It was all there as promised. Majestic Grandeur! Snow-capped mountains, scenic lakes and streams, spectacular glaciers, white water rivers, wild animals. Panoramic splendor everywhere, but no Edna.

Beauty everywhere but not even a David Copperfield could make our Renoir Lady or T.P. appear. It was just not to be.

Sadly, her Ladyship had contracted a bad respiratory infection with a severe cough and had practically lost her voice. There was no way she could join us. Both were sorely missed. Nevertheless, there is a great deal to tell Here ar a few of the highlights of our fabulous Canadian Odyssey: Vancouver..Victoria..Kamloops..Lake Lousie..Jasper..Banff..Calgary...

Love Letters-

Dear Ms Tanis, ( Janet Tanis  was Director of Education for the Hibel Museum of Art until her passing in 2004 )

Thank you for helping make our first International Arts Day a wonderful success! It was exciting for the children to experience the variety of talent and the uniqueness of each special artist. It was also important for the students to see the "work" of real artists.

Miss Tanis, you have an extraordinary gift for working with chilldren and making learning fun. You made a wonderful impression on the lives of these very young children. You gave our students history and information while challenging them to learn more. We look forward to working with the Hibel Museum during the coming year.

Again, thank you for donating your time and talent to the children of U.B. Kinsey. You are a truly a community servant who cares for kids.

Eileen Renault, Arts Coordinator, U.B. Kinsey Palmview School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida

Headline Excerpts from the prevous editions of Hibeletter:

----"HibelFest New England, October 18-19, Will Be A Birthday Party Like No Other"

----"Hibel Society Art Tour with Edna to East and South Africa, November 10-30"

----"October 4th Hibel Exhibition Opening in Houston at The Museum of Printing History"

----"One of U.S.'s Oldest Institutions to Give Highest Arts Award to Edna, January 24--First Ever to a Woman Painter"

----"Edna Given Painting Commission to Commemorate Project Hope's 40th Anniversary--Her Painting to be Unveiled at Smithsonian Institute in December"


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