Carol Kreeger Davidson of Bloomfield, CT, passed away the evening of June 16, 2014. Her artwork is the passionate legacy she leaves behind, as well as her loving husband of 63 years, Donald, and her two children Cynthia and Jeffrey.
She was born in Chicago, IL, on May 17, 1929, the daughter of Julius Kreeger and Edith Weiskopf Kreeger. She was educated at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and received her BS from Northwestern University. In 1951 she married Donald Davidson and moved to West Hartford, CT, where her children were born.
She then returned to the University of Hartford Art School to study sculpture and was the first older returning student admitted to the program. She received her BFA cum laude and went on to earn her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. Later, as an established artist, she joined the Board of Trustees of the Hartford Art School. Throughout her career, Carol loved exchanging ideas with young artists and learning about what they were reading, discussing, and creating.
She also possessed a great sense of adventure. When her husband Donald became Peace Corps Deputy Director in East Malaysia (Sabah) during 1967-68, Carol embraced the opportunity to travel and learn as a family. While there she taught sculpture and drawing at Malaysian and Chinese teachers colleges.
Carol Kreeger Davidson’s work was greatly influenced by her experience in East Malaysia and by her extensive travels to archaeological sites throughout the world. She was particularly interested in the ancient art forms of Egypt, Greece, Cambodia, and Islam and their relationship to modern culture. Many of the titles of her sculptures also reflect her lifelong interest in world literature.
In 1974, she was given a one-woman show at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and that successful exhibition was a springboard to a place in the Betty Parsons Gallery and to many other New York exhibitions. From the 1970s on, she split her working time between her studios in SoHo and West Hartford, CT.
She broke new ground by inviting people to interact with her largest sculptures. As she once noted, “I want people to feel free to sit in my pieces and read a book or have lunch or just be.”
Many of her largest pieces are housed at museums and universities, including Designated Angels, placed at the University of Chicago. In 1989, the Wadsworth Atheneum purchased Eric the Red and placed it outside the museum entrance, where it remained for over a decade. The University of Saint Joseph and the New Britain Museum of American Art both have Kreeger Davidson sculptures prominently displayed outdoors.
In 2013, several of her works, including Days of Danger and Telemone, were installed on the grounds of the Connecticut Governor’s Residence in Hartford. A comprehensive study of her work, The Abstract Figure: Carol Kreeger Davidson, A Retrospective, was published in 2002. She also produced two films, including Borneo Playback: A Sabah Story (1982), which chronicled her return to Borneo 11 years after living there as a Peace Corps family. The film was broadcast nationally on PBS in 1982.
Throughout her career, she received recognition and grants from a wide range of foundations and institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, the Hartford Arts Council, and the University of Hartford, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1981.
She was also an early and involved member of the Foreign Policy Association of Connecticut (now the World Affairs Council). She was particularly interested in bringing important public figures to speak in Hartford and in encouraging local discussion of important world issues.
She is survived by her husband Donald Davidson; her daughter Cynthia Davidson and son-in-law Jeff Bjork of St. Paul, Minnesota; her son Jeffrey Davidson of Cortona, Italy; her sister Margy Friedstein of Denver, Colorado; and several nieces and nephews.
The Davidson family would like to thank Laurel Fletcher, Beverly Morrison, Edyta Jadczak, and the staff of Caleb Hitchcock at Duncaster for the loving care that Carol received. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, June 23, 2014 in the Silberman Chapel at Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT with Rabbi Michael Pincus officiating.
Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford, CT. Friends are invited to call at the Farmington Country Club on Monday from 12:30-3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford, CT. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for Carol, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm.