Tidying Up

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Tidying Up
Tidying Up by Isabel Bishop.jpg
Artist Isabel Bishop
Year1941 (1941)
Type oil on masonite
Dimensions38 cm× 29 cm(15 in× 11.5 in)
Location Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tidying Up is an oil painting by American artist Isabel Bishop. It is currently in the permanent collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Oil painting Process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time. Certain differences, depending on the oil, are also visible in the sheen of the paints. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. The oil may be boiled with a resin, such as pine resin or frankincense, to create a varnish prized for its body and gloss.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. Most of the country is located in central North America between Canada and Mexico. With an estimated population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.

Isabel Bishop American painter

Isabel Bishop was an American painter and graphic artist who depicted urban scenes of Union Square, New York, from the 1930s to the 1970s. She is best known for her depiction of American women and as a leading member of the Fourteenth Street School of artists.



Tidying Up depicts a young contemporary (1930s or 1940s) working woman in an unguarded moment of checking herself in her hand mirror.

Bishop's work generally focuses on young women caught during the idle moments away from their jobs. Her active brushwork served to reflect the upward social mobility experienced by working women of this period, while her color palette recalls works of the Italian Renaissance. [1] Bishop's subject matter is quickly rendered, and lines are expressive and dynamic. Her quick brushstroke evokes the everyday activity and animation of the modern city. [2]

Italian Renaissance Cultural movement from the 14th to 17th century

The Italian Renaissance was a period of Italian history that began in the 14th century (Trecento) and lasted until the 17th century (Seicento). It peaked during the 15th (Quattrocento) and 16th (Cinquecento) centuries, spreading across Europe and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity. The French word renaissance means "rebirth" and defines the period as one of cultural revival and renewed interest in classical antiquity after the centuries labeled the Dark Ages by Renaissance humanists. The Renaissance author Giorgio Vasari used the term "Rebirth" in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects but the concept became widespread only in the 19th century, after the works of scholars such as Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt.

Historical information

Educated at the New York School of Applied Design for Women, Bishop was part of the loosely organized Fourteenth Street School, who were influenced by the realism of the Ashcan School. They painted scenes of daily life that concentrated on middle-class and lower-class peoples. [3] Bishop focused on female subjects, usually in work settings. She spent more than ten years painting the secretaries, sales clerks, and blue-collar workers who lived or worked in and around Union Square. Her favorite subject was women going about their everyday lives, eating, talking, putting on makeup, taking off their coats. These ordinary motions produced facial expressions that Bishop felt revealed the personality of the people she portrayed.

New York School of Applied Design for Women Art and design school in Manhattan, New York City

The New York School of Applied Design for Women, established in 1892, was an early design school for women in New York City. The New York School of Applied Design building was built in 1908 and is now a landmarked building.

Realism (arts) Artistic style of representing subjects realistically

Realism, sometimes called naturalism, in the arts is generally the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, or implausible, exotic, and supernatural elements. Realism has been prevalent in the arts at many periods, and can be in large part a matter of technique and training, and the avoidance of stylization.

Ashcan School American art movement

The Ashcan School, also called the Ash Can School, was an artistic movement in the United States during the late 19th-early 20th century that is best known for works portraying scenes of daily life in New York, often in the city's poorer neighborhoods.


The Indianapolis Museum of Art purchased Tidying Up from Midtown Galleries in New York City in 1943.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually referred to as either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

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  1. "Tidying Up Catalog Entry". Indianapolis Museum of Art . Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  2. "Artist Biography for Isabel Bishop". The Phillips Collection . Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  3. "Tidying Up Entry in The American Scene". Indianapolis Museum of Art . Retrieved 3 May 2012.