Mimi Gross, daughter of Ukrainian-born sculptor Chaim Gross, was raised in New York surrounded by art and artists. She entered Bard College in 1957 and later attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and the Kokoschka School of Painting and Sculpture in Austria. While in Provincetown, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1958, she met her future husband, artist Red Grooms, Hans Hofmann’s student and founder of the cooperative City Gallery in Manhattan. At the time when this portrait was created, Gross and her close friend Yvonne Jacquette had just begun to exhibit her paintings and drawings in New York and elsewhere. Both artists were a part of a cohort who were breaking away from abstraction, the dominant artistic form of the 1950s. As young women in a male-dominated art world, they continued to produce important work.
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