ELIZABETH LLOYD CHAMBERLAINE CHATER, a quintessential artist of the twentieth century, was born on August 10, 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland and lived until 1999 in various places in the eastern United States, including Cape Cod. Her young life was immersed in the art world as she followed in her artist mother’s footsteps. She sat for sketches, visited to museums, studied at art schools and traveled to Paris. Her earliest connections with the Cape were childhood summers here while her mother studied with Charles Hawthorne and others in Provincetown.

Libbie, as she was known by family and friends, absorbed art by living it. “I have been doing art work most of my life. My mother was an artist and I often posed for her. My mother loved art and did some good work as 1 was growing up and was attending Bryn Marr school. We thought and talked about it (art) often going to the Baltimore Museum of Art. She had many artist friends among them Adelaide Breeskin and Mrs. (Belle) Boas. . .. On Saturdays we, my mother and I, would often attend classes at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, making the trip with a group of mature artists. The curator Law Walkins was very pleased with my work.”

She attended Bryn Mar School where she did well in art and was urged by her teacher, Sarah Baker, to continue studying which she did at the Maryland Institute of Art. “My three years at the MI, were the typical art school studies of the day, (but) the Saturdays in Washington (Phillips Gallery) gave me the best understanding of art .. ” Her fourth year of art study was at the Art Students League of New York with Alexander Brook and Arnold Blanch.

On her return to Maryland, Libbie taught art at Greenwood School and three years later married the Rev. E. Walter Chater, an Episcopal minister. They moved to western New York where she took evening classes, helped organize an adult education class and studied at the University of Syracuse. The Rochester Art Museum Gallery accepted two of her figure paintings for a juried show. In spite of a busy schedule and raising two children, Libbie managed to work at art as much as possible. She kept a studio at each residence throughout her life. While in the early years her children served as subjects for realistic works, her subjects, studios and range greatly expanded over time.

In the 1950s, the family moved closer to New York City. Of this experience she writes: “On moving to Harrison, New York, I took classes in earnest. In about 1954 I studied with Will Barnet at the Art Students League. .. . This was a big experience for me as Mr. B introduced the class to abstract art as understood through the ages. 1 have never forgotten his enlightening critiques of modern artists. Will Barnet taught me the fundamentals of modern art as seen in the whole development. of art. In studying abstract art in relation to the art of the past 1 learned of the dynamic of creating a strong work of art.” This experience prompted her transition from realistic painting by stressing the importance of abstract structure. She also continued studying with Will Barnet and others during summers on Cape Cod throughout the 1960s.

Along with a one woman show at Pace College in Westchester, she won several prizes at local shows. The Ruth Sherman Gallery provided her the first New York show. Reviewing that show in a 1962 New York Times article, the critic Stuart Preston wrote: “Elizabeth Chater wears two hats, those of painter and printmaker, in her show at the Ruth Sherman Gallery, 306 E. 72nd Street. In both mediums she takes a semi-abstract to abstract line, flattening form into sharp edged areas that show a nice, neat competent feeling for design. And in her figure studies she manages to suggest individuality in the sitter despite drastic ways of formal reduction.” The Avanti Gallery presented her in two solo shows.

In 1972, she moved to Vermont and she joined a group of artists interested in many aspects of art. During the 1970’s a number of sites presented her work including the Wood Art Gallery, Montpelier; the Vermont Studio School and Johnson State College; Johnson; the University of Vermont, Burlington; and Goddard College, Plainfield. She continued to successfully participate in local art shows.

After the death of her husband she moved to Montclair, New Jersey in 1981, where she took courses in sculpture, painting and paper making at Montclair State College and exhibited there at Gallery 1. Libbie also resumed studies at the Art Students League and exhibited at the West Broadway Gallery in Soho.

In 1995 until the end of her life, Elizabeth Chater lived and worked on Cape Cod. She also regularly traveled to Honduras, Central America and this was reflected in the subject matter of her work. At the Cape, she studied at the Cotuit Art Center and participated in many local exhibitions as well as lecturing on art.

“In my art work I try to maintain a vision that is both alive to the world around and aware of a visual aesthetic that is strong and vibrant. The integration of these two elements is what interests me most. I find that working in a variety of media keeps my thinking alive. One type of work helps the other and keeps me aware of form as well as content. By constant re-evaluation I try to bring each work to a good resolution. I love the contrast of character in a variety of faces – the drama of everyday life is what motivates me.

“In my figure paintings I think of the variety of human conditions, the joys and sorrows, and try to express this in a pictorial sense, not literally, but ever conscious of the poetry and beauty of everyday life. I think that we are enriched by a heightened sense of the drama of everyday living. By being aware of the heroic quality of people’s lives we can more fully appreciate the courage and strength of their actions. This everyday poetry and beauty must be expressed in order to enhance our awareness of the human condition. We can relate to the feelings by participating in the situation.

“My purely abstract paintings are expressions of the joy of color movement and a kinetic sense of music and dance. I like to make us aware of the aesthetic qualities in the life all around us. My prints and collages are done a variety of media-some in silkscreen alone and some with silkscreen and acrylic or pastels. I sometimes add color.to the hand-printed woodcuts. The mono prints are of two kinds – some done on a zinc plate with oil based inks and stencils; others made on Yz” plastic sheets painted with luma paints or crayons. They are printed in a press on wet Arches paper- the strong pigment creates a glowing mono print and may be enhanced later with more color. The collages are of variety ofthings-old canvases- tom prints on Japanese paper hand made paper with silk screen prints on top-nylon mesh screening or found objects”

1914 Born, Baltimore, Maryland
1930 Maryland Institute of Art and Phillip’s Gallery, Washington, DC
1933/34 New York, Art Students League, Studied with Alexander Brook, Arnold Blanchard
1934 Traveled to Paris, Studied Art and Painted
1935 Taught art Greenwood School, Baltimore
1945 Studied at University of Syracuse
1945 Rochester Art Gallery and Museum – Juried Show
1950 New York, Art Students League, Studied with Will Barnett
1957 Provincetown, Massachusetts, Studied with Will Barnett
1960’s One Person Shows: New York
New York – Ruth Sherman Gallery; Avanti Gallery
Westchester – Pace College
1972 Vermont:
Goddard College, Plainfield
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson
Johnson State College, Johnson
University of Vermont, Burlington (One Person Show),
1977 Englewood, New Jersey studied at Tenafly Art Center
1979 Montpelier, Vermont Wood Art Gallery, (One Person Show)
1979 Vermont Artists Show, First Prize
1981 Montclair College, Gallery 1, Montclair State College, New Jersey; (One Person Show)
1981-1986 Studied Sculpture, Painting, and Paper at Montclair State College, New Jersey
1982 West Broadway Gallery, in Soho, New York City (One Person Show)
1983 Summit Center Art Show, Summit, New Jersey
1986 Annual Show of New England Artists, Silvermine, CT
1994 Wolf Gallery, Cotuit, Massachusetts
1995 Cape Cod Women’s Organization Annual Art Show
1995 Design Center, Boston, Design Industry Foundation for AIDS
1995 Cape Cod Printmakers: Past and Present, Cape Cod Museum of Fine Arts, Dennnis
1994-98 Studied with Jamie Wolf, Cotuit Arts Center
1999 Died, Marston Mills, Massachusetts