Margaret Kidder (American/CA: 1904 – 1959) was a painter and printmaker, who produced a small but delicately complex body of work in a her short life. At a time when women artists rarely departed from the safe and accepted forms of female subject and technique (picturesque, decorative), Kidder’s work quietly broke the mold.
Before the dramatic turn of events for women in the arts in the mid-century, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and questioning the human condition were predominantly male pursuits. However, Kidders work evokes these qualities in a subtle, delicate approach: In the suggestion of sadness or longing sometimes portrayed in the mothers’ eyes, a solitary quietude in the women and the protective or melancholy expression of the children, and dark landscapes or drapery that often surrounds the figures. While not departing from feminine themes, the images belie a careful construction of complex emotion and a dark ethereality.
Not much is known of Kidder’s life and her death remains a mystery, but the imagery she produced suggests what might have been an intellectually and emotionally insightful person whose work would likely have become more prominent, had she had more time to create and show it.