Katharine Steele Renninger (1925-2004), a devoted native of Bucks County, dedicated her career to preserving in paint the achievements of its citizens: the honest craft and design found in architectural structures and handmade objects that represented a disappearing way of life. A 1946 graduate of Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Renninger developed a deep commitment to both her studio practice and to her community. She worked for decades to establish an arts center that would support the significant art history of the region, and eventually became a founding trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum. This exhibition highlights the 2008 gift of Renninger’s archive to the Museum including a treasure trove of early sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and travel studies that trace her artistic and professional development. The archival materials and correspondence reveals why audiences continue to appreciate Renninger’s work, finding in it a reflection of themselves, their values, and their childhood memories. A self-described “abstract realist,” Katharine Steele Renninger serves as a bridge between Bucks County’s art historical past and its present.
Katharine Steele Renninger: Craft, Commitment, Community is generously supported by The Pfundt Family Foundation, Jim and Tina Greenwood, and an anonymous donor.