Eunice Parsons

Eunice Jensen Parsons (born August 4, 1916) is an American modernist artist known for collages. She was born in Colorado and lives in Portland, Oregon. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Portland Museum Art School. Parsons was also a teacher at the latter institution for over 20 years.

Eunice Parsons
Eunice Lulu Parsons

(1916-08-04) August 4, 1916 (age 104)[1]
Known forCollage

Early life and educationEdit

The daughter of Florence Alta (Weed) Parsons and Brainerd Parsons,[2][3] Eunice Parsons was born in Loma, Colorado, in 1916.[4] Her family lived briefly in Montana, but when she was age four, her family moved to Chicago. In 1934 and 1935, she attended childrens art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[5] She married Allen Herbert Jensen in 1936[6] and moved to Portland, Oregon, raising three children there. From 1950 to 1954, she studied at the Portland Museum Art School.[5] In 1957 she took a bus to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., to study abstract expressionism.[7] Her sketchbooks from that trip demonstrate her early inclinations in "color, line, and shading, all developing into a unique and distinctive style".[8]


Parsons joined the faculty of the Portland Museum Art School as a painting instructor, where she was known as a "blunt but brilliant" teacher.[8] She also taught printmaking and composition between 1957 and 1979. Her career has also included teaching classes at Portland State University.[4]

Parsons was a co-founder of the 12x16gallery in southeast Portland,[9] a cooperative which exhibited artists' work between 2006 and 2017.[1][10]

She exhibited new collage works, Eunice Parsons, La Centenaire, at the Roll-Up Photo Studio Gallery in Portland to celebrate her centennial year in 2016.[9] At age 100 in 2017, she was the only remaining living artist from the 2004 group exhibition, "Northwest Matriarchs of Modernism", at Marylhurst University's gallery, The Art Gym.[11] That exhibition had also included artists LaVerne Krause, Maude Kerns, Mary Henry, Sally Haley, and Hilda Morris.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Called an American master of collage, Parsons uses torn and cut paper, words and phrases to create "striking and evocative collage works."[4] Her work is held in permanent collections at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Jordan Schnltzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, Kaiser Permanente and the Portland Art Museum.[4]

Isaac Peterson at called Parsons' collages "painterly", writing that they are "composed with intricate consideration, but occasionally she moves with a speed and daring any skater would admire".[12] Marc Andres of Portland Community College described Parsons' process of creating collage as one of creation and destruction, adding that it is "at once both extremely spontaneous in its generation and equally methodical in its resolution".[13] Blair Saxon Hill compared her artistic style to that of European artists like Kurt Schwitters or Miró.[11]

In a 2005 review, Victoria Blake wrote of Parsons' view that "collage, like life, is an art of imperfection, of the torn edge and the spot of glue". Blake continued that Parsons has "the ability to recognize the chance encounter for what it is: potential in its purist form".[14]


Awards and honorsEdit

In 2001, Pacific Northwest College of Art presented an honorary Master of Fine Arts to Parsons, as well as displaying "Eunice Parsons, a Fifty Year Retrospective" at the college's Felman Gallery. In addition, philanthropist Stephen Wiener donated an endowment for student travel scholarships in Parson's name.[5]

Further readingEdit

Parsons is included in two books featuring notable artists of Oregon:[5]

  • Johnson, George (2001). Portraits of 80 Oregon artists. Portland, Oregon: Portland Art Museum. ISBN 1-883124-13-1.
  • Allen, Ginny; Klevit, Jody (1999). Oregon Painters: The First Hundred Years (1859–1959) : Index and Biographical Dictionary. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87595-271-2.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Carlisle, Andrea (August 29, 2013). "A visit with Eunice Parsons". PNCA – Untitled. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "1920 U. S. Census for Eunice Parsons". January 10, 1920. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  3. ^ "Florence Alta Weed in the Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871–1922". 1908. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Master of collage on display at Hallie Ford Museum". Albany Democrat-Herald. July 24, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2019 – via
  5. ^ a b c d "Eunice Parsons – Artist's biography". 2002. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  6. ^ "U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781–1969 for Ennice Lulu Parsons". 1936. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Lois, Allan; Kangas, Matthew (2004). "Northwest Matriarchs of Modernism: Twelve Proto-feminists from Oregon and Washington" (PDF). Oregon Visual Arts. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Eunice Parsons & Process". Willamette University Archives. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Eunice Parsons: On a Tear for 100 years". The Southeast Examiner of Portland Oregon. March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "Exhibitions 2017". 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Saxon-Hill, Blair (December 2017). "Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project". Oregon Visual Arts Ecology. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  12. ^ Petersen, Isaac (July 27, 2005). "Cut and Paste: Paul Fujita and Eunice Parsons at Chambers Gallery". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Andres, Mark (2006). "In the Studio: Portland Artists". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Row, D. K. (August 28, 2009). "On view: Eunice Parsons at Hallie Ford Museum of Art". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Hallie Ford Museum of Art: Eunice Parsons: Collages". Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "Collection". Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Ostergren, Kate. "Portland Artist Eunice Parsons Creates Collages". Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "Eunice Parsons at the PNAA". On The Way. March 14, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Lake, Eva (November 2004). "The Art of Collage: Interview with Eunice Parsons". The Art of Collage. Archived from the original on May 27, 2005. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "Rock Creek Gallery". Retrieved May 24, 2019.

External linksEdit