Edna Reindel was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor, and muralist whose still-life compositions were done in a hyper-realistic style that at times bordered on Surrealism. Her works featured rich colors, unconventional cropping of space, and unusual perspectives that gave a mysterious dynamic to her work.
Reindel studied art at Detroit School of Design in 1918. In 1919, she moved to New York and attended Pratt Institute, graduating in 1923. She worked as a freelance artist, illustrating children’s books, book jackets, and covers for House and Garden magazine. In 1934, she had her first one-woman show at New York’s Macbeth Gallery.
In 1933, she began to work for the Federal Art Project of the WPA, making paintings for federal buildings. From 1937 to 1942 she worked on various murals, one of which was for a public housing project and another for a Georgia courthouse. A mural study for one of the Federal projects she worked on was “Doze and Mandolin.” In this still life Reindel combined several unrelated items – one of which was a cat – in lose proximity in a work that seemed to transcend reality.
In 1937, Reinde moved to southern California and settled in Santa Monica where she did portraits of Hollywood stars in addition to her still life paintings, like the 1937 “Magnolia Dream.” Here she combined Surrealist elements with a realistic rendering of a magnolia flower in the foreground. Behind the flower was a semi-framed sleeping woman seeming to float on a luminous semi-abstract background.
Reindel was exhibiting her work in California at this time, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art gave her a solo show in 1940. In 1944, Life Magazine published her work for their “Women at War” series, which showed women doing industrial work in support of the American war effort. One of her paintings was the famous 1943 “Rosie the Riveter.” Four of her paintings from the Life series are in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
In 1948 and 1949, Reindel focused on the horror of the atom bomb in the series, “The Effects of War on People.”
Her work has been exhibited at New York’ Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Carnegie International.
Her work is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.