Skip to main content

Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman: Figure Drawing Atelier

In this video, Margie Weinstein, manager of education initiatives, describes 2012 Whitney Biennial artist Nicole Eisenman's public program: a figure drawing workshop with live models.

Born in 1965 in Verdun, France
Lives and Works in New York 

The figures depicted in Nicole Eisenman’s paintings and works on paper often convey a sense of unsettled contemplation and disenchantment. Typically highly personal and speaking explicitly to our current economic and political environment, her works ultimately go beyond these themes to explore a broader interest in the human condition. From allegorical tableaux such as The Drawing Class (on view in the Museum Lobby) to individual portraits like Breakup and the untitled monotypes shown in the Biennial galleries, she exhibits a fascination with human interaction and detachment. Every subject is depicted in a unique and distinctive manner, in accordance with the artist’s belief that “different images ask to be painted in different ways” and adding to the impression that each of her subjects, even those sharing a scene with other figures, exists in an isolated psychological space.

Combining an erudite, easygoing virtuosity and deadpan humor with a wide variety of techniques culled from the history of painting and printmaking, Eisenman carves out a world in which meaning is elusive if not painfully unavailable. Often identified with significant shifts in feminist art of the 1990s, her practice embraces popular culture and encompasses many types of media and subject matter. Through all of it is revealed an artist— frequently cited as one of the seminal painters of her generation—both passionate and with a remarkable facility for witty self-critique, deeply invested in exploring her own time, in all its forms.



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.