Sandford Birdsey: A Retrospective

February 21 - April 12, 2020

Custom House Museum | Bryan Gallery

Sandford’s creations are as androgynous as her name.  Using large brushes and bold strokes she applied her unique vision charged with luscious and lively colors.  The essence of Key West springs to life on her paper.  Boats, water, tropical foliage, Victorian gingerbread, street people, pets and free roaming chickens are depicted in her original fashion with humor and affection.

Born in Macon, Georgia, Sandford Mallary Birdsey (1925-2010) attended the Wesleyan Conservatory and the Parsons school of Design and studied in France and Italy.  In 1981, she moved to Key West, where she resided for thirty years.  Once on the island, she lived above her studio and gallery Signs of Sandford at 328 Simonton Street.  She was accomplished in numerous media including watercolor, oil, acrylics, etchings, collagraph and decorative arts.  A founding member of the American Society of Marine Artists and a member of the Florida Watercolor Society, she exhibited in shows from Florida to New York City, including the Whitney Museum.  Her paintings are in several private collections that of the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the Phillip Morris collection.

Not only was Sandford an accomplished artist, silk screener, mosaic and mural designer, she was also a well-regarded teacher.  She frequently taught plein air classes and organized an annual workshop.  Notable students include Martha dePoo, Christine Cordone, Karen Beauprie, Andy Thurber, Deborah Moore and Elizabeth Chamberlain.

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