Join us in remembering SFAI alumna, painter, and activist Adelie Landis Bischoff. Adelie adored her time as an undergraduate student at SFAI in 1951-52. Her final act of gratitude was to bequeath an endowed scholarship named in her honor for future SFAI painting students.
Adelie in her studio.
A note from SFAI trustee, Jeremy Stone:
Adelie was in the same SFAI classes as Roy de Forest, Sonia Getchoff, James Kelly, and Julius Wasserstein. Adelie’s continued to exhibit through 2016. A solo retrospective at the Wiegand Gallery, Belmont, CA,was mounted in 2012. She had her first NYC solo show at 80 at Salander O’Reilly. Her large portraits of Barack Obama were among my favorite late paintings. She was politically active and once left her own 89th birthday party to attend a Biden event where she managed to get her rolled up painting to Barack! In her Berkeley bedroom were framed photos of her with Biden and Barack Obama, separately. She was beaming.
She often said that her year at SFAI was “the best year of my life.” After studying at The Art Students League, City College and Brooklyn College, NY, Adelie left Brooklyn for San Francisco. She supported herself as a psychiatric nurse before and throughout her college studies while exhibiting in 1953 at SFMOMA Print Annual and King Ubu Gallery, in 1954 at SFMOMA Print Annual and the Richmond Art Center Annual, and in 1955 at Lucien Labaudt Gallery, SF, before completing her degrees. While she met her future husband, Elmer Bischoff, at SFAI, in 1951, they did not date until quite a bit after she left. “He was married” she said! He searched for her, and in 1958, they were married. She kept painting throughout her life. Adelie was a big fan of the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law. In her 80s she approached Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization to which she was passionately committed, to ask him to hire her as an undercover agent. She wanted to infiltrate neo-Nazi groups in Berkeley’s neighboring counties and report back to Dees. (He turned her down.) Adelie was inspired equally by Goya, William Kentridge and Anselm Kiefer. Even needing ski poles for balance in her 80s she would thrown them down to run onto the dance floor when she heard Dixieland Jazz band music at Bimbo’s.
Adelie painting, photo by Joanne Leonard.