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Jean Taylor Kroeber '47

January 7, 1929 - September 7, 2020

 

Written by her son, Arthur Kroeber

Jean Taylor Kroeber ’47, sculptor, died on Sept. 7, 2020, while residing at her summer home in Hampton, NY where she had spent several months each year since 1975. Jean was born in New York City on January 7, 1929 and grew up in Greenwich Village. After Friends she attended Radcliffe where she graduated with a BA in History. She then moved back to New York where she worked as an editor, studied sculpture at the Art Students League, and married Karl Kroeber, who became an English professor at the University of Wisconsin and at Columbia University.


Her commitment to sculpture was reignited in 1967 on a visit to Greece, and from then on she carved in stone (mainly marble) and wood. Her figurative style was influenced by Greek and Romanesque carvings and the strong figures of Aristide Maillol and William Zorach. She worked without drawings or maquettes and aimed for a concentrated expression of inner life. Jean’s w fthork was displayed at many galleries in New York and Vermont, and she was a longtime member and president of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club in New York City.


She served faithfully for many years as the Class of 1947 Secretary and was a donor to many progressive causes. She did not quite fulfill the prophecy of her Friends yearbook, which foresaw “Jean ‘Hot Fingers’ Taylor, of the Spike Jones band, clutching the ‘sweet’ washboard with which she has risen to fame.” She kept a keen interest in music as an amateur pianist (and a player of a clavichord she built herself), and a habituée of Carnegie Hall, where her determined attendance was cut short only by the cancelation of concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her wit and generosity of spirit will be badly missed. Her husband Karl died in 2009; she is survived by children Paul Kroeber, Arthur Kroeber and Katharine Kroeber Wiley, and four grandchildren.

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