ALBANY — Visitors to the Albany Museum of Art will be able to explore the works of Albany artist and art teacher Florence Samuels Prisant beginning Thursday. The exhibit, “Florence Prisant: A Retrospective,” will be held in the museum’s West Gallery and will run through Aug. 25.
AMA Director of Marketing and Public Relations Jim Hendricks said that Prisant, who passed away on April 25 at the age of 91, was a longtime member and prominent figure of the Albany arts scene. As the daughter of an immigrant fashion designer, she was born and raised in New York City before moving in 1945 to Albany, where she met and married her husband, Albany native Oscar Prisant in 1946.
Hendricks said that Prisant’s artistic ability was apparent in her youth. She credited her father with being her first art teacher, noting that as a child she had memories of sitting next to him and drawing while he sketched his latest designs. Later, she went on to study at the Art Students League in New York, where she was taught by Russian painter Robert Brackman. There she studied alongside fellow painters Sidney Dickinson and Isaac Soyer.
During the mid-1970s Florence Prisant became an individual student of David A. Leffel, who was so impressed with her work that he invited Prisant and her daughter over for dinner. She continued to develop her craft during the 1980s and 1990s, a time that she began exploring different media while working with colleagues like pastelist Daniel E. Greene and watercolorists Henry Casselli and Chen-Chi. She became an expert in a variety of styles and media, including oil, watercolor and pastels. She was a member of the Pastel Society of America, who recognized her numerous times by hosting displays of her work at the organization’s New York gallery.
Prisant added a kiln to her studio to create works of enameling along with her paintings. During the 21st century, she began to explore experimental painting, and she went through a period of hiding angels in her different abstract works. Throughout her life, she created many portraits that clearly exhibit her training and talent. These portraits hang in many private collections throughout the country, and one of her favorites, a portrait of former Congressman Charles Hatcher, hangs in Washington, D.C.
To see the “Florence Prisant: A Retrospective” exhibit, visit the West Gallery in the Albany Museum of Art through Aug. 25. The AMA is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information on the museum and the new exhibit, visit AMA’s website at www.albanymuseum.com or call (229) 439-8400.