For over 40 years, Edna Hibel (1917 to 2014) has been referred to as America’s best loved and most versatile artist, and best colorist. Since being commissioned by the Foundation of the U.S. National Archives in 1995 to commemorate 75 years of women receiving the universal right to vote, Hibel is now acclaimed the “Heart and Conscience of America.” when Ms. Lucy Baines Johnson, of the U.S. National Archives described her as such.
On Friday, December 5, 2014, artist Edna Hibel passed away in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida almost at the age of 98. Her art and life will continue to cherished by all those who possess her creations or were fortunate enough to know her personally. Edna Hibel Plotkin in her will, requested that all of her remaining personal possessions and assets be donated to the Edna Hibel Art Foundation Inc upon her passing to support the Hibel Mueum of Art. At this time, over eight years later, the Foundation has yet to see any of those assets to be added to the museum collection. A Palm Beach County lawyer is still in possession of those assets. Therefore, all other artworks previously owned by the Edna Hibel Art Foundation and viewed at the Hibel Museum of Art in Jupiter, FL are now owned by and located at other public not-for-profit institutions including Wright Art Museum, Beloit, Wisconsin, Albrech-Kemper Museum of Art, St Joseph, Missouri, The Museum of Printing History, Haverill, Massachusetts, and Lafayette Art Foundation and Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana.
Born in 1917 to Abraham and Lena Hibel of Boston, Massachusetts, Miss Hibel grew up in the Boston area. She was educated at Brookline High School where she met her future husband, Theodore Plotkin to whom she was married for 72 years. She spent many summers at the shore in Hull, Massachusetts and in Maine studying watercolor painting. She began painting at the age of 9 in elementary school. In addition to art, Miss Hibel was very proficient in tennis and she had a wide circle of friends many with whom she stayed current by telephone. Her husband Theodore passed away in 2011.
Edna Hibel was educated at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, from 1935-39, and was a special graduate student later. In 1942, she was honored with the Sturtevant Traveling Fellowship to Mexico. At the age of 23, she was the youngest artist at the time to have a painting purchased by a major American art museum. The Boston Museum of Art purchased ” Orange Lady” which Edna Hibel had created during her time in Mexico. The painting is now with the Lafayette Art Foundation and Museum in Louisiana.
To see a television interview Edna Hibel Legends and Legacy. Note: the Hibel Museum of Art mentioned in the interview is now closed. Do return to our pages for additional insights.
Edna began “pulling” stone lithographs in 1966 in Boston and then moved to work in a fourth generation ‘atelier” in Zurich in 1970 and she still works in Switzerland. Lithography is a drawing medium and it is especially suited to her draftsmanship and exquisite control over “the line.” She innovated in creating works with up to 32 stones (or colors) on paper, silk, wood veneer and encouraged her porcelain manufacturers to allow her to create color separations with stone lithography which were transferred in a “secret” complicated process onto Bavarian hard paste porcelain. These works are now called lithographs on porcelain.
Ms. Hibel had created the “Arte Ovale” series, and various plaques with this technique. With both lithographs on paper and on other materials, she often segments her editions of lithographs by colors, papers or the use of gold. Edna Hibel’s writings on Original Stone Lithography.
Until the age of 93, Edna painted each day in her studio at home beginning early in the morning and hand enhanced her original stone lithographs, serigraphs and giclee with pastels, oil paint, gold leaf, pencil, ink, conte crayon and charcoal. She traveled for special exhibits to promote the Hibel Museum of Art and to join the Edna Hibel Society on overseas trips. She would bring home new creations from almost every trip. She normally worked in oil paint. However, in the last years, she worked in watercolors again on a limited basis since she had mastered the techniques as a young person. The Hibel Museum of Art was given a wonderful collection of watercolors from the 1930’s and 1940’s which confirms her master watercolor artist status.
Edna Hibel was selected by the United Nations World Food program to create “Mother Earth”, an original painting to be used for a United Nations first day cover and limited edition art print published by 1983. Later the same image was used as a U.N stamp to commemorate the anniversary the World Federation of United Nations Associations. The original painting “Mother Earth” is now in a private collection. Edna Hibel was in good company with the other artists selected for United Nations stamps such as Salvadore Dali and Juan Miro. The stamps and art were unveiled at the United Nations in New York City.
U.S National Archives
In 1995, for the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gave women the right to vote, Edna Hibel was asked to create a painting to commemorate this event. Her work, “Our Mothers Before Us” was unveiled at the United States National Archives in Washington. D.C. and proceeds from the sale funded an education program at the Archives. This was a very personal painting for Edna as she depicted herself at the age of 3, her mother and her grandmother. “Our Mothers Before Use” is in a private collection.
Edna Hibel was honored in 2007 by the League of American Pen Women in Washingon, D.C with an exhibit and proclamation by the mayor of Washington, D.C. and featured on the Legends and Legacies program on WPBF-TV, affiliate Channel 25 in Palm Beach County Florida.
Over 600 Editions of Original Stone Lithographs
Edna returned from Zurich on June 13, 2003 and we celebrated the completion of her 600th edition of original stone lithographs at a special party at the former, Edna Hibel Gallery in Boynton Beach, FL. This accomplishment is quite significant in the life of an artist. We are unaware of any other artist creating so many unique drawings for editions of multi-stone lithographs. “When it comes to original stone lithography, there is Edna Hibel. There is everyone else. No one comes close to Edna Hibel.” This is a statement by Thomi Wolfensberger, 4th generation, master lithographer, Zurich, Switzerland. At her death, she had created 610 editions.
INTERNATIONAL ART AWARD:
Edna Hibel was honored to receive the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts from Rector Gispen of Utrecht University on November 21, 2001 from the World Cultural Council. The prestigious International Art award has been granted once every three years since 1980. Ms Hibel has been cited for her innovations in artistic methods (especially in original stone lithography and porcelain ) and her contribution to art education. The World Cultural Council has appointed 100 members from five continents which jury the art prize. They also grant every two to three years an Einstein science prize and an education prize. Previous art recipients include Robert Rauschenberg, and most recently a Polish artist. The first art prize was awarded to the City of Athens, Greece. The ceremony took place in the most historic room at Utrecht University, the Hall in which 350 years before the country of The Netherlands was formed. In 2001, Edna also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from “Women in the Visual Arts,” an organization of artists in the South Florida area. Edna was particularly appreciative of this honor from her peers.
In 2000, Edna created a painting to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the White House. The painting entitled “the Heart and Conscience of America” was unveiled at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D. C. that June.
The work of Edna Hibel has been exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries in more than 20 countries on four continents including national museums in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Russia and the U.S.A., and under the royal patronage of Count and Countess Bernadotte of Germany, Count Thor Bonde of Sweden, Prince and the late Princess Rainier of Monaco and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Hibel received medals of honor from His Eminence Pope John Paul II and the late Belgian King Baudouin, and has received six honorary Doctorate degrees including one from Eureka College, the alma mater of President Ronald Regan and Northwood University of Florida, Michigan and Texas. She received her sixth honorary degree from Simmons College, Boston in May, 2005. According to Will Ray formerly of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, Ms. Hibel is Palm Beach’s most famous artist.
In addition to her numerous artistic awards, Edna Hibel received many humanitarian honors for her more than one half century in raising donations with her work for children’s and medical charities. She has also used her humanistic and compassionate work to bring peace through cultural understanding between China and the United States, Yugoslavia and the United States and Russia and the United States with her “Golden Bridge” and “Peace Through Wisdom” exhibits in those countries. The television documentary “Hibel’s Russian Palette” was developed during her trips and art shows in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. She was recognized for her effect on people and their love and understanding for each other long before her travels to communist countries with an honorary doctorate degree from the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Edna Hibel Businesses
Since 1960, the Edna Hibel Gallery was the exclusive distributor of Edna Hibel’s work world-wide. For 15 years, the Hibel Gallery was located on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts. In the summers, Hibel exhibited in Rockport, MA. In the winters several Florida locations hosted one-artist shows of Edna Hibel’s original paintings and lithographs.
Then in 1968, The Hibel Gallery opened in Palm Beach and was located on Worth Avenue for twenty years. For a total of 37 years Edna Hibel exhibited among Palm Beach island’s premier art galleries, collectible stores, and gift boutiques. The Hibel Museum of Art was opened in Palm Beach in 1977 and stayed at the Royal Poinciana Plaza until 2000. Retail operations moved to Lake Worth, Florida and then to Jupiter, Florida.
After over 39 years in Palm Beach County, the Edna Hibel Gallery, formerly on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and the wholesale corporation, Edna Hibel Corp, have been closed.
Hibel Studio,Inc., her licensing company, continues to operate under the direction of her son Andrew and family and may be contacted email@example.com.
The artwork collection owned by the Edna Hibel Art Foundation was housed in the Hibel Fine Art building on the John D MacArthur campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida from 2001 until September 2018. Florida Atlantic University has closed the building and forced the museum to relocate. The Hibel Museum of Art operated by Edna Hibel Art Foundation, a 501c 3, non-profit public institution is not available for public visits at this time. Trustees of the Edna Hibel Art Foundation have arranged for the art works and paintings in the collection to be placed with other museums across the country.
A virtual museum may be developed to share the many images by Edna Hibel with collectors, researchers and art appreciators in the future.
Most of her followers recognize this message on their works or autographs……
To see a portion of Hibel’s Russian Palette movie produced by the Edna Hibel Art Foundation and aired on PBS channels following two Russian exhibits in 1990 Click here: Hibel’s Russian Palette
(c) Hibel Studio, Inc 2018 P.O. Box 33332 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420