Nash, Katherine, 1910-1982

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1910
Death 1982
Americans

Biographical notes:

Katherine Flink Nash was born in 1910 in Minneapolis. She received a B.S. in Art Education from the University of Minnesota in 1932. In 1934, she married attorney Robert Nash. She taught art at the University of Nebraska and eventually the University of Minnesota. As an artist, she was primarily known as a sculptor but painted as well. She died in 1982.

From the description of Katherine Nash papers, 1910-1982. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62693187

Katherine Flink Nash was born in Minneapolis in 1910 to Carl and Elizabeth (nee Peterson) Flink. Katherine attended public grammar and high school in Minneapolis before enrolling in the Minneapolis School of Art in 1926 where she studied for two years. Katherine then enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 1928 where she eventually earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Art Education in 1932.

On March 21, 1934 Katherine married attorney Robert C. Nash. In 1937 Robert Nash began working for the U.S. federal government as a Special Investigator for the Internal Revenue Service's Enforcement Branch of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax (Robert continued to work for the for the government until his retirement in 1964). Katherine and Robert Nash did not have any children. In a 1976 interview, Nash commented about her choice not to have children: "Personally, with the energies that I feel I have, I don't believe I could have been a successful mother and really worked on my art hard enough. It isn't that I wouldn't have tried."

From 1939-1944 Katherine Nash took courses at the Walker Art Center School where she studied new sculpture and painting techniques. There is no information in the collection about the early years of the Nash's marriage or Katherine's art activities.

In 1948 Robert Nash was transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska. Katherine was hired as an instructor at the University Nebraska, Lincoln (and eventually rose to the rank of Assistant Professor). While at the University of Nebraska, Katherine enrolled in welding, foundry work, pattern making and jewelry making classes. Katherine taught and took courses at the University of Nebraska until 1953 when Robert was transferred to Omaha, Nebraska. Katherine then became head of the exhibitions program at the Joslyn Art Museum and continued teaching at the University of Nebraska.

The Nashs returned to Minneapolis in 1957. Shortly thereafter, Katherine received an invitation to head the art department at San Jose State College (an offer she apparently declined). Robert accepted a short-term transfer to Washington D.C. and Katherine began teaching at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts (and would continue there until 1963). In 1962 Katherine temporarily re-located to California and worked as a visiting professor at the San Jose State College for a semester. These work-related separations proved to be temporary and by 1963 both Katherine and Bob had permanently relocated to their home on St. Alban's Bay, Lake Minnetonka near Excelsior, Minnesota (a home that they had purchased in 1940).

Katherine began her professional association with the University of Minnesota in 1957-1958 when she agreed to serve as the acting director of the University Art Gallery (now the Weismann Art Museum). Katherine then taught as an adjunct professor in the University's Studio Arts department beginning in 1961 (in 1963-1964 she was made Associate Professor and hired on as faculty).

In addition to her university teaching and museum work, Nash continued to paint and sculpt. Sculpture gradually became her primary means of artistic expression. Nash sculpted in almost every medium from clay, plaster, concrete, stone and wood to cast bronze, aluminum and plastics. Nash is best known for her work with direct and arc welding and her use of found and salvaged materials.

Most of Katherine Nash's sculpture is non-representational. She crafted most of her pieces from combinations of metals and worked on both casting and welding projects. Examples of Nash's work can be found at various locations at the University of Minnesota (including the Wilson Library on the West Bank, the Weismann Art Museum on the East Bank and on the grounds of the President's mansion, Eastcliff).

Throughout her life, Nash worked and exhibited tirelessly. The 1960s and 1970s brought Katherine acclaim and recognition. Doane College (Crete, NE) awarded Katherine Nash an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 1964. The University of Minnesota awarded Nash the 1975 Horace T. Morse award in recognition for excellence in teaching. In addition, the University re-named the West Bank Union Gallery the Katherine Nash Gallery in 1979. An event that Nash described as "the most exciting thing that has happened to me outside of my wedding" (Minneapolis Star Tribune obituary, 1982).

The following years proved to be challenging. In 1976 Katherine retired in order to care for her ailing husband. Robert Nash died in 1978 and Katherine was forced to give up their home on Lake Minnetonka. She moved into a high-rise apartment building near the University of Minnesota's West Bank and lived there until her death. Katherine had struggled with a kidney condition her entire life and in 1982 she died from complications of renal failure.

From the guide to the Katherine Nash papers, 1910-1982, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])

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Ark ID:
w64749rk
SNAC ID:
19464346

Subjects:

  • Arts
  • Sculpture, American

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