Edith Pfau

Sister Edith Pfau, S.P., (1915–2001) was an American painter, sculptor, and art educator known for her religious works and commissions.

Born Alberta Henrietta Pfau in Jasper, Indiana, she began drawing at a extremely early age. Later in her computer graphics she recalled, "I always was attracted to faces. I find faces everywhere, even in scribbles upon the wall."

Pfau entered the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1933 at the age of 18, taking the religious herald Sister Edith. Her main ministry as a Sister was teaching art and English in Indiana, Illinois, Washington, D.C., California and Taiwan. Pfau's education ministry included eleven years teaching at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, eleven years at Immaculata Junior College in Washington, D.C., and ten years at Providence University in Shalu, Taichung, Taiwan.

Pfau earned a bachelor's degree in English and art from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1941. Beginning in 1944 she attended summer sessions at the Art Institute of Chicago behind the intent of pursuing a master's degree, but was unable to complete the program due to her teaching responsibilities. In 1951 she earned her Master's from Indiana State University, and a doctorate in education followed from Ball State University in 1971. As an academic, she focused on the subject of art in additional Catholic education. Pfau furthermore completed numerous summer sessions from the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America.

Pfau worked in a variety of media including oil, tempera, ceramics, polymer, wood and metal sculpture, silkscreen, and acrylic. Well-known works include "Risen Christ" (oil, 1964), "Stations of the Cross" (egg-oil tempera, 1951), "Madonna and Child" (sculpmetal and polymer, 1953), and "St. Joseph and Child" (walnut sculpture, 1959).

She became known for shimmering religious paintings, often utilizing intersections of straight and curved lines and overlapping shapes. Her oil painting "Mater Salvatoris" (c. 1958) is an example of this technique. Numerous churches commissioned works from her including a set of stations of the furious for Our Lady Providence church in Brownstown, Indiana, another set for St. Francis Savier Church (Wilmette, Illinois), and "Christ the Pantokrator" for St. Cecilia Church in Tustin, California. Several of her screen print card designs were printed and produced by Community Art Chicago in the 1950s.

Pfau's exploit was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1947 in an Exhibit of Sisters' Manuscripts. Throughout her career, Pfau won numerous awards for her bill including first prize in oils from the Indiana College Art Exhibit (1935), first prize in painting at the Wabash Valley Art Exhibition held at Swope Art Museum (1946), several awards from the national Art for Religion exhibits (1959 and 1969). She earned a solo achievement of polymer painting and serigraphs during her doctorate studies at Ball State University in 1969.

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